“Google Inc is challenging Facebook Inc. by using a controversial tactic: requiring people to use the Google+ social network,” Amir Efrati reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The result is that people who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services—including the Zagat restaurant-review website—are also being set up with public Google+ pages that can be viewed by anyone online. Google+ is a Facebook rival and one of the company’s most important recent initiatives as it tries to snag more online advertising dollars.”

Efrati reports, “The impetus comes from the top. Google Chief Executive Larry Page has sought more aggressive measures to get people to use Google+, two people familiar with the matter say… Both Facebook and Google make the vast bulk of their revenue from selling ads. But Facebook has something Google wants: Facebook can tie people’s online activities to their real names, and it also knows who those people’s friends are. Marketers say Google has told them that closer integration of Google+ across its many properties will allow Google to obtain this kind of information and target people with more relevant (and therefore, more profitable) ads.”

“Google last month said 235 million people used Google+ features—such as clicking on a ‘+1′ button, similar to Facebook’s “Like” button—across Google’s sites, up from 150 million in late June,” Efrati reports. “Because using Google+ requires people to sign in to their Google accounts, Google will be able to blend mounds of data about individual users’ search habits and the websites they visit with their activities on Google+. That is a potential boon to Google’s ad business, from which the company derives about 95% of its more than $40 billion in annual revenue, excluding its new Motorola phone-making unit.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Lynn Weiler" for the heads up.]