Google Inc. is gaining ground against Facebook Inc. thanks to a controversial tactic: requiring people to use the Google+ social network.
Google over the past year has boosted the Google+ operation by integrating it with the company’s top-tier properties, including its Web search engine, Gmail, YouTube, business listings and the Android mobile-operating system.
People using Google to search for photos or customer reviews of a restaurant, for example, automatically are steered to the restaurant’s Google+ page. In the fall, Google began requiring people who want to post their reviews of restaurants or other businesses to use their Google+ profiles to do so. The same rule applies for reviews of physical goods or mobile apps obtained through Google.
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