Google+ saw nearly 50 million U.S. visitors come to the social network in December, up 55 percent from the 30 million visitors in November, as the company tries to challenge Facebook.
Google+ received 49 million visits in the U.S. through December, up 55 percent from November, according to new data from Experian HitWise.
HitWise Jan. 2 tweeted this quick-and-dirty chart
showing the rise of visits to Google+ to 49 million visitors last month, up from 30 million in November and 25 million in October, the first full month the fledgling social network became available to the general public.
Prior to that, the social network was available only to those invited to the limited field test, where early adopters got to sample the Circles sharing construct, Hangouts video collaboration application and several other features that have since been honed and refined.
Google+ has also been integrated to varying degrees with Gmail, Google Apps, YouTube and several other Google Web services.
The update came less than a week after Ancestry.com and FamilyLink.com founder Paul Allen said
the company had 62 million users worldwide, with some 625,000 new users joining each day.
While HitWise only counted Google+'s U.S. visitors, its chart confirmed Allen's supposition that the social network enjoyed a flurry of activity and new members in December.
"What is really remarkable is that nearly 1/4th of all Google+ users (24.01 percent to be precise) will have joined in December alone," Allen wrote in a Dec. 27 post on, of course, Google+
. "If this rate of new signups (625K daily) continues, then Google+ will reach 100 million users on Feb. 25th and 200 million users on August 3. They will finish 2012 with 293 million users."
Maybe Google owes this increase to its Google+ TV ads, including stars such as former NBA great Bill Walton, or Hangouts with Blackeyed Peas frontman will.i.am.
Whatever is driving traffic, Allen was sanguine on Google+'s growth, predicting it will actually complete 2012 with 400 million users.
That would equal the number of users that log on to rival Facebook each day, though that network has over 800 million total users. And as for user engagement, there's no question Facebook beats up on Google.
Nielsen noted that users spent some seven hours a month
on Facebook, compared with less than two hours a month on Google-owned Websites, including Google.com and Google+. Users did spend more than an hour and a half each month on Google's YouTube Web property.