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Google+ inertia sets in at Chocolate Factory

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Google+ – unlike Buzz and other failed Chocolate Factory experiments – may have graduated from the soon-to-be-defunct Labs wing of the ad broker's web estate, but questions remain about the company's plans to make it THE social network platform online.

It doesn't help that many of the top bosses at Google are struggling to feed their Google+ accounts.

As noted by Michael DeGusta at theunderstatement.com, Mountain View elder statesman Eric Schmidt isn't leading by example. A search for him on Google+ returns results for other Erics, but not the company's erstwhile CEO-turned-chairman.

Meanwhile, Larry Page is being sluggish rather than lavishing praise with his Google+ account. As of today, Google's boss has shared fewer that 20 public posts on the site.

Usefully, DeGusta has provided a neat visualisation showing which top Google execs "engage" with the firm's latest effort to pummel its search algorithms with "social" tags.

And the results are disappointing.

Google is continuing to slowly trickle out more APIs to developers interested in coding their own apps for the platform, which was opened to all-comers last month.

And it made search available in the Google+ API yesterday.

"Our first API release lets you retrieve public posts. We’ve now added ways for you to see how people are publicly engaging with those posts – you can find out who reshared a post or who +1’d a post, and you can read the comments on a post," said Google.

Separately, the Chocolate Factory said it was "rolling out a feature that lets you disable comments and lock your posts before sharing to the Google+ stream".

The company also appeared to add an in-joke to one example of how the search API works.

Who says eating tasty cookies after sundown is bad for you?

Arguably, a combination of wooing developers and dropping the invite-only entry to Google+ will help the site grow. But a lack of interest from Google's top brass suggests false advertising about the firm's true desire to "go social".

"Only 3 of the 12 people listed on the Google Management Team page have ever made a single public post on Google+, totaling just 29 posts ever and only 6 in September," said DeGusta in his blog post.

"In total, of the 18 most senior people charged with overseeing Google, 11 have either not joined or have never made a single public post, and 5 have barely used it at all. Only Senior VP of Social and head of Google+ Vic Gundotra and SVP of Chrome Sundar Pichai have made any effort to seriously adopt Google+."

That disconnection doesn't bode well long-term for the product, argued DeGusta.

Last week, Google+ was chasing MySpace for second place on the social networks popularity chart. Let's hope – for Page's sake – that the Chocolate Factory board doesn't think that being Facebook's Number Two is anything to be proud of. That's a bit like being Microsoft's Bing, isn't it? ®

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