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Google+ May Actually Be Competitive, Researcher Says

By - Source: NYT | B 15 comments

We'll know how competitive when Larry Page adds Mark Zuckerberg to his 'enemies' circle.

Having only launched midway through 2011, it was impossible that Google+ could have ended the year remotely close to tipping Facebook off of its lofty pedestal. Given Mountain View's prior success branching out beyond its area of expertise, it isn't unreasonable to think that Google+ will ultimately go the way of Google Buzz. Indeed, research published this week by Nielsen Research indicates that Google+ saw an average of 8,207,000 visitors a month compared to Facebook's vastly more substantial 137,644,000. Then again, that Facebook average is over a 10 month period, while Google's total covers only 4. And if Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com and 'unofficial Google statistician' (but no relation to the Microsoft co-founder) is correct, Google+ has nowhere to go but up.

Allen's research, a summary of which has been posted to Google+, indicates that in the short amount of time the fledgling Facebook-killer has existed, it has shown substantial month over month growth. Total Google+ registrations were approximately 10 million by the end of July, 2011. That total doubled by the end of August to 20.5 million. On October 14, Larry Page announced that Google+ had 40 million registered users. Allen's research shows that by December 1st, the total had climbed to 50 million. While the climb from 40 to 50 million between October 15 and December 1 appears to represent a slowing down of new registrations compared to the previous month and a half, December has turned out to be huge: 12 million new people created a Google+ account between December 1st and December 27, a whopping 15% of the total number of registrations since June, bringing the end of 2011 total to 62 million.

62 million people may be dwarfed by Facebook's gargantuan 800 million estimated users, but it's a great start. Allen estimates that G+ will have 65 million accounts mid-way through January and pass the 85 million mark by March 1. However, his other predictions about subsequent growth may seem a tad optimistic, particularly his contention that G+ will finish 2012 with 400,000,000 users. That kind of staggering success seems unlikely; Facebook didn't hit 100 million people until 2008, 2 years after opening registrations to anyone with a valid email address. Their main competition was the increasingly moribund MySpace, and it wasn't until Myspace began a rapid, inexorable decline that Facebook became Facebook. Unless Zuckerberg has plans to replace Facebook's current stealth privacy-violation scheme with an ad-laden, browser-crashing, eye-gougingly ugly interface, Google has some decidedly stiffer competition.

Still, not bad for a very work-in-progress attempt to go after Facebook where they live. Particularly for those of us who prefer it. Now if only Google could be tempted to revert to Gmail's classic look...

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  • -4 Hide
    house70 , December 30, 2011 7:16 PM
    Well, even the SHARE bar underneath the article has FB as the first button, and G+ is nowhere to be seen...
    The one on top has 2 FB buttons and only one G+, and always G+ is somewhere lost in the middle.
    With such "objectivity" from a tech site, no wonder the tone of the article itself... However, I believe I read recently an 'opinion' on this site that bashed G+ into oblivion. Nice to see haters swallowing their own words...
  • 3 Hide
    rosstradamus , December 30, 2011 7:37 PM
    House70, Facebook's 400 million members make a compelling argument for providing more ways for people to use it to share the article. FWIW, I like G+ better, but it's still tiny by comparison.
  • 8 Hide
    aaron88_7 , December 30, 2011 7:38 PM
    house70Well, even the SHARE bar underneath the article has FB as the first button, and G+ is nowhere to be seen

    Maybe that's because most FB users are too stupid to realize you don't need the button and can simply copy and paste the URL to do the exact same thing.
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    mayne92 , December 30, 2011 10:31 PM
    I just wish FB would die out already...
  • 0 Hide
    tuch92 , December 30, 2011 10:53 PM
    I don't know if registrations is a good way to gauge popularity. I know at least 10 people who have made an account on google plus (me included) only to leave it alone once they found out there was no one else posting anything yet. I've had an account for maybe 2 months and I've prolly checked it 3 times at most. There's just nothing worthwhile on it yet.
  • -1 Hide
    house70 , December 30, 2011 11:19 PM
    aaron88_7Maybe that's because most FB users are too stupid to realize you don't need the button and can simply copy and paste the URL to do the exact same thing.

    that was my point. Not listing G+ as a main sharing option as well and then complaining that G+ is not as popular is kinda biased, don't you think?
  • 3 Hide
    everygamer , December 30, 2011 11:44 PM
    I think that Google+ growth is tied to Android Smartphone growth. It is becoming more tightly integrated with Android. You download the Google+ apps and click on them and it pretty much sets up your account. They are adding features like the auto-upload photos and document integration, things like that as they become more feature rich will bring people into Google+ just because its easy.
  • 0 Hide
    dotaloc , December 31, 2011 3:17 AM
    word to aaron. but i do use the share options from mobile. copy/paste is a pain even if you can do it.
  • 0 Hide
    jryan388 , December 31, 2011 3:24 PM
    That is amazing. If google's sample had been 10 months long, it would have been over 10% of Facebook. Becoming 10% the size of such a massive network in such a short amount of time is stunning.
  • 4 Hide
    izmanq , December 31, 2011 6:58 PM
    facebook's timeline is very irritating, i hope it will bring more people to G+
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 31, 2011 7:22 PM
    I'd love to use Google+ as would many of my friends, but most of us are a few months off the joining age.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 31, 2011 7:35 PM
    MySpace is still kin the top 10 Social networking sites, beating out Google+, according to Neilsen:

    http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/nielsens-tops-of-2011-digital/

    (Scroll down.)

    According to Google's own stats, MySpace is still in the top 100 sites worldwide, ahead of Tumblr & HuffPo. Surprisingly, Reddit is nowhere in sight:

    http://www.google.com/adplanner/static/top1000/

    Just looking at that list and counting Social networking sites, MySpace comes in at number 5.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 31, 2011 10:36 PM
    Can people STOP quoting Paul Allen! Heis method is not even REMOTELY scientific and Google themselves have refuted his numbers TWICE. (And they certianly would not UNDERreport their numbers.

    Allen claimed that Google+ had 20 million users in July when it had less than 10. He then claimed they were approaching 40 million when Google said thatt they had less than 20.

    He takes a random sample and then uses last names! In other words, he is promoting HIS websites and ignorant and naive bloggers like you keep giving him the free publicity out of sheer stupidity.
  • 0 Hide
    st3 , January 2, 2012 1:42 AM
    lakawakCan people STOP quoting Paul Allen! Heis method is not even REMOTELY scientific and Google themselves have refuted his numbers TWICE. (And they certianly would not UNDERreport their numbers.Allen claimed that Google+ had 20 million users in July when it had less than 10. He then claimed they were approaching 40 million when Google said thatt they had less than 20.He takes a random sample and then uses last names! In other words, he is promoting HIS websites and ignorant and naive bloggers like you keep giving him the free publicity out of sheer stupidity.


    Hey, it is lakawak... THE BIGGEST GOOGLE HATER OUT THERE. How come we can't believe paul but we can you? Back to your Facebook pond.
  • -1 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 2, 2012 7:25 PM
    I might dislike Facebook, but Google+ is just as bad simply because it's owned by a very dangerous company.
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