It's been over two years since the launch of Google+, and from the very start the service has had no shortage of voices ready to call it a failure. But for me, the criticisms, and there’ve been plenty, tend to focus too heavily on the idea of Google+ as a competitor to Facebook in the traditional social networking space. The reality, and I’m certainly not the first to say it, is that for Google, social networking is only a small part of the Plus masterplan, which is far more about growing Google’s core ad business and supporting future hardware projects, as I’ll explain in this post.
What does Google get out of Google+?
To take several steps back, there are essentially two ways advertising networks like Google can sell online inventory: contextually and demographically.
Google have an incredible contextual advertising model in Adwords. A Google user searches for a keyword and they’re served an advert in the context of the information they are looking for. Contextual advertising is perfect for Google’s search results pages because it's extremely easy for advertisers to see the value. For Google, that market is huge but there’s little room for growth. There’s a finite number of search result pages they can monitize (although that finite number is in the billions) and there’s an upper ceiling to what advertisers will be willing to pay for clicks on search ads. Read More