Google+ in its first two weeks could have 5 million users, or 9 million users, depending on whose stats and methodologies users want to believe. It's good growth, but is it sustainable?
Google+ has more than 5
million users in the United States alone during its first two weeks of
existence, according to a couple of creative calculations by early users of the
fledgling social network.
Open June 28 to limited
field-testing, Google+ is Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) major bid to bite into the
massive growth and influence of Facebook, which has more than 750 million users
and poses a threat to Google's display ad business.
Using the U.S. Census Bureau
data on how many people there are in the United States with each surname,
Ancestry.com founder Paul Allen calculated that there are about 4.7 million
Google+ users (and growing). Allen's estimates, up from 1.7 million users July
4, do not include non-U.S. + users. "I updated about 1/4 of my surname
counts tonight, and am very surprised at how fast the user base is
wrote in a July 10 post on Google+.
Allen said he expects to
have four times as much data when he updates his research July 11. A Google
spokesperson declined July 11 to provide user metrics for eWEEK
Allen's approach isn't the
only armchair methodology. Atul Arora chimed in on Allen's thread that users
can calculate the number of Google+ users by running a Google search for "inurl:plus.google.com/*about
received roughly 8,890,000 results for this query, suggesting that non-U.S.
users are indeed factored into this search.
is open to exploring additional methodologies where available.
Whether there are 5 million
or nearly 9 million + users is up for debate; only Google knows for sure, and there's
no benefit in its releasing its stats when the service is in limited testing
(though it seems more and more people are finding their way in).
While it's fine for Google
that Google+ is gaining traction, the question that remains is whether + has
staying power. As in: Can Google keep up the + growth for several months or
even a year?
If Google+ were to grow by 5
million a week for a year (ending June 28, 2012), it could have more than 250
million users, or roughly one-third of Facebook's current user base. Another
question: Will Google+ persuade Facebook users to defect to the new social
network in town?
If this is the case,
Facebook will lose users and Google+ may catch the king of social media earlier
than the current growth trajectory.