Google+ is the dark horse of big data in social media.
That’s because it is so closely integrated with some of the most popular products on the Web — Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube.
So, while Google claims that Google+ has 300 million users who are “active” in the Google+ stream each month — not a huge number by social network standards — this doesn’t measure the real value of Google+ to Google, which is that it provides more contextual and nuanced information about people’s identities and backgrounds when they are using other Google services.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we look at the kinds of data each of the major social networks is collecting on its users: what each social network knows about its users, and how it might begin to process and use that information for advertising and content purposes, varies surprisingly widely.
- In the case of Google+, the network is emerging as a good complement to Google search because so many posts are about individual expertise and opinions, and Google weights Google+ activity heavily when it considers how to rank a page in search results.
- When other Google+ users give certain links many +1s — the equivalent of a Facebook like — these pages shoot up in search rankings.
- Google+ is a hub of activity in its own right, especially for photo-sharing; 1.5 billion photos are uploaded to Google+ every week, which is approximately 214 million every day (not far off from Facebook’s 300 million).
- Photos uploaded to Google+ — since they also often come accompanied with explanatory captions — are helping the systems that carry out contextual sorting to become more accurate at identifying the context of an image. Photo recognition is one of the most hotly contested fields among social media big data experts.
- Google+ also offers a large amount of data through its API, and is second only to Facebook in terms of the quantity of different API pieces it collects. Its API data is strongest when it comes to geo-tracking and data about a user’s self-image.
In full, the report:
- Identifies the key pieces of data Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Yelp, and Foursquare is collecting
- Contextualizes who this data stands to benefit and what kind of user information can be parsed from it
- Provides key statistics on just how big these data troves really are for each subset of information
- Looks at what sort of information these social networks will seek to collect next
- Lays the groundwork for our other Social Big Data report on what advances social networks are making in using artificial intelligence to process big data
To access BI Intelligence’s full report on Social Big Data, along with BI Intelligence’s in-depth coverage of the mobile, social, payments, video, and e-commerce industries, sign up for a free trial subscription here.