With social networking, you are not the customer, you are the product.
The Denver Post points out that it’s all about the tracking. A nugget:
Since its 2004 inception, Facebook has been stockpiling valuable information about people’s social circles and interests. The volume of insightful data pouring into Facebook has mushroomed along with its service’s popularity. That has provided Facebook with the means to target ads more precisely and deliver content tied to a user’s hobbies and tastes.
Google couldn’t use most of that data to refine its search engine and other products, which is why it developed its own social network.
Since its debut nine months ago, Google Plus has attracted more than 100 million users. Although it lags Facebook’s 845 million, the number is far greater than Facebook’s tally at that stage in its history.
But Google Plus hasn’t proved it can hold users’ attention. Visitors have been spending an average of just a few minutes per month on Google Plus compared with six to seven hours on Facebook, according to the research firm comScore Inc.