Searching for a coherent and compelling Google value proposition
Google does not disclose how much money it has spent on Google+. But analysts believe much of Google's aggressive hiring during the past year -- its headcount swelled to more than 8,000 employees in 2011 alone -- was to feed its social efforts as it seeks to challenge Facebook's 800 million user network.
Google+, which does not currently feature ads, is still in its infancy and the company has yet to outline its monetization plans for the service. But Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter said the benefits of some of Google's other non-search initiatives, such as the vast amount of online video it now streams across the Web on YouTube, are coming into focus.
"The goal at the end of the rainbow is TV advertising," he said. "For years Google has been eating the lunch of print and radio, but TV has held up incredibly well."