28. December 2011–
Google+ has grown markedly in the last several weeks with an estimated 625,000 new users per day and a predicted 400 million users by end of 2012. Recent research from unofficial Google statistician Paul Allen shows that nearly 1/4th of all Google+ users (24.01% to be precise) will have joined in December alone.
If the rate continues, Google+ is predicted to reach 100 million users by Feb. 25th and 200 million users by August 3rd, finishing 2012 with a remarkable 293 million users (over a quarter of Facebook's notorious 800 million active users, in a vying effort). With 700,000 new Android devices activated daily, more integration and Google+ APIs released this year, the rate is likely to accelerate further.
Google plus ça change: A very social +1 year old
The news makes us teary-eyed for June 28, 2011- the day we all received our exclusive "field testing" G+ invitations (or heard about them from the backseat of a car heading to the sweaty Hamptons and decided to make friends with strangers+ as quick as our little fingers could type 'beachhouse'). We didn't quite know what this strange bettered invitation-only version of our current oracle was, but we'd already fallen to our knees.
When the announcements came out the next day that invitations had been suspended due to "insane demand," our super social mouths watered + signs. On July 14, Google+ had reached 10 million users. After four weeks in operation, 25 million (with the biggest market in the US followed by India). Flash forward to October 12, when we bloggers could suddenly get #excited about things you were #excited about, and weeks later when we could see "What's hot" (on October 27) and the rest of our resistant friends started to migrate over...the rest is backplane history.
Here are the numbers that have joined G+ year by month (according to the Elance report by Paul Allen):
- July 13 - 10 million
- August 1 - 20.5 million
- September 1 - 24.7 million
- October 1 - 38 million (Larry Page announced "more than 40m users" on Oct 13th)
- November 1 - 43 million
- December 1 - 50 million
- December 27 - 62 million
- January 1 - 65.8 million (forecast)
- February 1 - 85.2 million (forecast)
Will it rival The F-Book?
Google+ is Google's fourth, most epic foray into social networking, preceded by Google Buzz (launched 2010, retired in 2011), Google Friend Connect (launched 2008, to be retired by March 2012) and orkut (launched in 2004, now operated entirely by subsidiary Google Brazil). Its clear advantage in search results, recent brand pages, and huge financial backing make it an intimidating rival for Facebook. But some people still say "naa."
One interesting finding of Allen's study is that Google+ users are uploading 5x more photos per day than Facebook users, meaning Google+ will be hosting about 10 billion photos by mid-January. This is likely due to Android instant upload.
Google's Social Network Changes...Everything?
Out today, to celebrate, is Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, New York Times bestseller Chris Brogan's guide to Circles and Hangouts (and why you should use Google+ for promotion, customer service, community building, referrals, and collaboration). If you get around to reading it, it will likely be with the occasional Facebook page refresh, but that's not written there.
In a recent Q&A with Mashable, Brogan offers some good insights, as well as his favorite Google+ pages, "Corcoran Group, Alure Home Improvement, Red Bull, Ford, and Kodak." Here's why he thinks Google+ is well-equipped to beat out FB:
"Google+ posts sent to “public” rank fairly well in Google search results. You can’t get that with Facebook or Twitter these days..."
"Second, Facebook works on a “closed” and insular “who you know” model, whereas Google+ works on a “what you’re into” model. It’s much easier to prospect in B than A."
He's also pretty aggressive when asked if Google+ will ever "catch up" to Facebook:
"This is one of the silliest questions people ask me. Facebook has been around for years. When Facebook first became publicly available, MySpace had a gazillion users. When AOL was at the top of its game as a community platform, there was no such thing as MySpace. Don’t worry about counting users. Google has far deeper pockets than Facebook and several dozen applications that are all useful to business. I’m not predicting that Google+ wipes out Facebook, but the comparison is silly. A few months of Google+ compared to a handful of years of Facebook is not a decent comparison."
Google Plus in Germany? Opt-out or Opt-in
Germany may be leaning in favor of Google+ too, at least in terms of facial recognition technology. This month, Google+ introduced its “Find My Face” feature, which enables friend tags by facial recognition software similar to what Facebook rolled out this summer. Last week, the German government agency that oversees privacy issues reportedly approved Google+'s software despite warning Facebook that it will take action for using similar technology.
The difference the agency claims is Google's “opt-in” feature, which assures that users don’t get the feature unless they take action requesting it. Agency representative Moritz Karg told Investor's Business Daily, "At least it seems that users of Google+ have a real choice, and therefore the legal requirements of effective consent seemed to be met." Karg confirms that the agency, Der Hamburgishche Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit, has asked Facebook to respond to its suit by mid-January 2012.
Facebook did not immediately respond to questions about whether or when it will respond to the agency, reports Investor's Business Daily.