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Google lures college students to Google+ in effort to speed adoption

Zach Epstein
November 8th, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Google’s latest social networking effort follows a long line of failed attempts to break into a space owned by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and (somehow) Myspace, and Google seems to finally have a hit on its hands with Google+. The service amassed more than 10 million users within two weeks of launching as an invitation-only beta, and it now reportedly has more than 40 million users following a public launch. As Facebook approaches 1 billion users, however, Google has quite a bit of ground to make up. The Internet giant apparently isn’t afraid to get dirty in its quest for social network dominance, and a new report revealed that Google recently set up shop at colleges in Israel in an attempt to lure new users to Google+. Read on for more.

As a new semester got underway at Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University in Israel, students were greeted by an unexpected surprise: a series of booths that served as recruiting stations for Google+. The manned booths offered passers-by a free gift bag packed with goodies if they were willing to sign up for the new social network on the spot, Ynet recently reported. Google’s hired hands helped users create their profiles on the spot, even offering to take playful profile pictures for the university students, which were also printed on stickers and given away for free.

“The idea is to open a Google Plus account for people, and we want them to add people to their Circles so the network will grow,” one of Google’s booth-workers told Ynet (machine-translated from Hebrew). “A lot of people do not know the network, so we tell them a little about the social network and its advantages over other networks.”

Google also set up similar booths at another college in the area, and it is unclear if the company plans to extend its recruiting efforts beyond Israel.

Google+ is a service very similar to Facebook, though it offers a unique user interface and several compelling features. Users group friends into “Circles” and may share content only with specific circles if they so desire. The social network also features instant messaging, group chat and a recently-added gaming component that allows users to play games online within the Google+ UI.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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