When Google Plus initially appeared to be something of a flop after a heavy marketing effort to pitch their social networking platform as the next Facebook, many scoffed at what they thought may be the beginning of the overexpansion and crumbling of the Google Empire.
But perhaps Google will have the last laugh.
In a world of micromanaged social media profiles, in which everything from the color correction and most flattering angles of ourselves are posted, imagine a social network that displays all of our ignorances and insecurities, concerns and curiosities, and just about everything else our Google searches, Gmail conversations, Google Map direction routes and YouTube video watching histories may reveal, and in the event that we have Chrome, our entire web browsing histories.
While no such nefarious motives to publicize this information to all and sundry are likely on the radar for near launches, Google Plus knows all this information and that, according to a recent New York Times article, is perhaps the mark of success for what the network aims to collect — and potentially provide advertisers with.
According to a Times article, the network has about 29 million unique monthly users, compared to Facebook’s 128 million unique monthly users.
The information provided through the social network, however, offers advertisers seeking search engine optimization to tailor their marketing efforts to the an invaluable peek into the innermost idiosyncrasies of their target demographics.
While the article stated an earlier anti-trust investigation examining whether it was legal for Google to tie their flop of a product to their most successful products in an effort to get more users found no legal wrongdoing on Google’s part, users of the all-knowing corporation should proceed with caution as they continue to traverse the landscape of the Internet.
But with cybersecurity breaches becoming more common, it is not simply the ethics of Google that must be taken into consideration. A transfer of this information into the wrong hands could leave the majority of Internet users quite exposed in ways they may have never expected.
Divya Kumar is a senior majoring in economics and mass communications.