Google+ is approaching 50 million users, if it's not there already, said Paul Allen, who said Google saw a 30 percent membership bump Sept. 22. That's just 2 days after its beta launch.
Google+ is rapidly approaching the 50 million user mark,
just days after launching to everyone in open beta, according to unofficial number-crunching
from Internet entrepreneur Paul Allen.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Sept. 20 launched a broader search functionality and
several new features
for its popular Google+ Hangouts group video conferencing
application. New Hangouts tools include screensharing, Google Docs integration, live
broadcasting and Hangouts for Android
smartphones, among other improvements.
The biggest news that day was the launch from limited
field test to beta, according to Google Senior Vice President of Engineering
Vic Gundotra, who is leading the charge to make Google+ a household name as an
alternative social network to Facebook.
Allen, who has been calculating Google+ user growth by
counting surnames, said that the network grew 30 percent just two days after
its launch to beta. Specifically, he calculated Google+ membership at 28.7 milluion
users on Sept. 9, with that number soaring to 37.8 million users through Sept.
Accounting for private user profiles and non-Roman
surnames, which are not represented in his surname counting model, Allen said
he believed Google+ to have roughly 43.4 million users. That's a nice, robust
Allen explained that for this count he updated his model
to use 400 uncommon surnames in the United States, which he said also reflects usage in
many other countries.
His earlier estimates in July, in which he had
Google passing 10 million users on July 12
, did not address either private
profiles or non-Roman alphabet. However, through July 19, comScore placed Google+ at 20 million users
Regardless, 30 percent growth for a Website that some
declared to be dead, dying and a ghost town is no mean feat. For perspective,
it took Facebook three and a half years to reach 50 million users. Google+ has
grown that large in less than three months.
Now for some key caveats. Allen, founder of Ancestry.com and
current CEO of FamilyLink.com, has
always admitted his numbers are not all inclusive.
He noted that on FindPeopleOnPlus.com
there are substantial numbers of users from Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Japan,
Thailand, and many other countries, whom his surname counting does not include.
To wit, he is allowing for a 15 percent error probability
factor, 5 percent for private profiles whom he cannot account for and 10
percent for Google+ users with non-Roman surnames.
Moreover, Facebook, whose main functionality Google+
appeared to copy, is evolving with a Timeline user interface that lets users surface
their life's history of stories, photos and videos on one Webpage
. Many experts
said this could help Facebook distance itself from Google+.
However, Allen, who published his post before Timeline
was unveiled at F8, said in his post he believes users may not cotton well to Facebook's
frequent user interface changes
. He cited a survey from Mashable and angry
tweets from users fed up with Facebook's steady stream of changes.
By contrast, he feels Google's discipline in keeping a
minimalistic design will help it gain more users:
"I think the tens of
millions of people who will be signing up for and using Google+ will find that
changes here will be very well thought out, very iterative, very carefully
tested, and won't be nearly as jarring as the changes that have been made at
other social networks. Google is not in a rush to change the world. They are on
a steady course to do so."
Perhaps, but Facebook now has 800 million users. Grumble
as they might at the privacy and UI changes Facebook makes every few months, the users
that comprise the vast social network stick around.
That's user engagement, and by extension social advertising opportunities, Google can only aspire to at this stage.