Google has allowed registration of profiles for pets in a desperate attempt to win hearts and minds of pet lovers on the Web.
A lot of visitors on Google+ noticed yesterday that it looked a bit changed. All of a sudden, the site pages were overrun with hundreds of avatars with cute cats and faithful-looking dogs. In the end, the sudden pet invasion has proved to be a new feature introduced by Google in order to attract more users to their social network.
Now, drilling down your profile settings, you can come across the 'Pet Account' option. After opting in and filling out a couple of boxes, you'll get an additional G+ profile for your pet. Though this new Google+ pet page is actually bundled with your primary personal account, it is treated separately by the Google personal search. Moreover, you can add other pet profiles to the circles of your Spot or Whiskers, creating a whole network of 'interacting' pets. At the moment, the most popular pet on Google+ is Barack Obama's Portuguese Water dog, Bo, who currently has about 15,000 pet followers.
The reasons behind launching the Pet Profile feature are more than obvious. It's been half a year since Google+ went public, but its social activity could be best described with one single word: desolate. According to the statement made by Larry Page, Google's co-founder and current CEO, the daily mean increase in the number of Google+ users is about 650,000 people. However, most of them don't use Google+ after they sign up for it at all or do it on a very scarce basis: Google's own web engine returns about 25 million accounts whose users have not even taken the trouble to fill out the most basic information about themselves. A quick surf around the pages of 'active' users shows that most of them have left two or three posts at most after registration and then little by little abandoned their Google+ profiles.
The lack of interest to the $500-mln project has made Page's team take a number of drastic steps to make their social network grab the public's attention. In October 2011, after a massive public outcry against the Google+ 'no-nicknames' policy known as Nymwars, Google loosened its grip on people not willing to use their real names and allowed using pseudonyms. In December 2011 Google allowed businesses to open their own G+ profiles, however it didn't liven up the things much. The new feature is apparently intended to make Google+ more attractive for the Web pet lovers. This initiative seems to have all chances to work well: the Internet users' love for animals has already brought success to a large number of other Web projects.