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Google’s new social networking service has reached twenty million members, according to data from ComScore. ComScore doesn’t have any official word from Google on this one- they’ve evidently based their estimates on a “global measurement panel” consisting of two million web users.
Those are good numbers – but the reality is that the number was passed in early August. When trying to research the numbers for where the service is at today, there really are no solid answers. It starts to make one wonder whether Google+ is starting to peter out – and it’s not something that is welcome news, but just an observation.
However, first and foremost, the service is still technically a closed environment- last I checked, if users want to sign up for Google +, they need to get someone who’s already signed up for the site to invite them (speaking of which, anyone who wants to nab an invite can drop me a line). You can’t simply sign up for Google +. With that in mind, the statistic becomes a little more impressive, doesn’t it? That’s not all, either- even more shocking is the fact that Google hasn’t actually even begun officially marketing the service on their search engine- most of what’s been circulating about G + has been word of mouth.
Not only that…Facebook took over two years to get past the twenty million mark- Google + took 23 days.
“I’ve never seen anything grow this quickly” said Andrew Lipsman, Comscore’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “The only other site that matched this kind of visitor accumulation in a short period of time is Twitter back in 2009- but that happened over several months.” It seems as if Google’s got their finger on the pulse of the social network at exactly the right moment- when Facebook and Twitter both launched, social networking was a very different beast. They’ve changed it. They’ve popularized it. And now, Google + is capitalizing on that by doing what they do- only better. Plus, the fact that they provide a viable alternative to Facebook-which seems to be one of the more popular businesses to hate on these days- is icing on the cake.
There’s the added benefit of how well browser addons seem to interact with G +: particularly addons for Chrome via extensions. In only a few short weeks, we’ve seen more Google + inspired applications and extensions surface in the webstore than we’ve seen for Facebook since Chrome launched- and many of those are geared towards helping users make the switch between social networks. Something tells me that if things keep going the way they’re going, those kinds of extensions are going to be seeing a lot more use. Granted, we’ve yet to see many Google + apps that are specifically designed within the platform- but as the devs have a bit more time to fiddle around with the Google + developer kit, the applications will eventually come.
There’s still a long road ahead for Google +- Facebook has over 750 million, and Twitter over 200 million. Given those rather staggering numbers, 20 million kind of seems like a drop in the bucket, doesn’t it? Of course, if Google + continues to grow at the same rate it has been in its fast start, that road might be rather quickly traversed.