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That way Google+ can claim 1 billion active users and say their service is a huge success, even surpassing their nemesis Facebook.

Don't forget the likely increased revenue tying more accounts to real names to sell impressions that are more targeted. It's all about the money.

I think the goal is ultimately more targeted advertising. In a way this is helpful. It would be great for adult advertising to stop showing up on cartoon videos.

Google has claimed right from the beginning that they want G+ to be a "social layer" across all of their services, which could also be seen as a "social network", but not in the same way Facebook is a "social network.

To be fair, I think they shifted their messaging a little bit (vis-a-vis whether G+ was intended as a FB-style destination network or a social layer that happens to have a stream) to take advantage of the initial burst of interest/success in the actual social-network-stream part of Google+. But yea, there are plenty of people who are too stupid/disingenuous to understand the "social layer" concept they're going for even in cases where it's very straightforward.

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