Google's Google+ social-networking and identity service has garnered 62 million users and is on track to reach 400 million by the end of 2012.
This projection comes from Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com and a self-proclaimed unofficial Google+ statistician. Allen, who reported his numbers as of Dec. 27, estimates that about 625,000 new users are joining Google+ each day. Allen said every week his team runs hundreds of queries to track the growth of Google+.
Google has been aggressively marketing and promoting Google+, with new TV ads featuring athletes and stars. Google also has been integrating Google+ with its other products, such as its search engine. And the company has been tweaking the Google+ product to appeal to more users, particularly business users with the introduction of Google+ Pages in November.
But the latest push on Google+ appears to be paying dividends. "What is really remarkable is that nearly 1/4th of all Google+ users (24.01% to be precise) will have joined in December alone," Allen wrote in a Dec. 27 post. "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."
Allen also predicts that a network effect will kick in and have a significant impact on Google+ signups. Allen also said he expects more Google+ APIs to be released in 2012 so that developers will be able to build applications and "experiences" on top of Google+ to attract and benefit even more users.
"I expect the growth to continue to accelerate, however. Google can continue to integrate Google+ into its other products, and word of mouth will continue to build," Allen said. "Most importantly, 700,000 Android devices are activated daily, and this will become a very significant source of new users for Google+. That number will also grow next year."
The bottom line of his analysis is that Allen sees 2012 as a big year for Google+. "Based on the accelerated growth I'm seeing and all the dials and levers Google can still utilize, and the developer ecosystem that will be developed," Allen wrote, "I predict that 2012 is going to be a breakout year for Google+ and that it will end next year with more than 400 million users."
Those are healthy figures, but they are a far cry from Facebook's more than 800 million users. Still, Google+ is on the rise and its growth will merit observation in the 2012.
Allen's estimates for Google+ are as follows:
"July 13: 10 millionAug. 1: 20.5 millionSept. 1: 24.7 millionOct. 1: 38 million (Larry Page announced "more than 40m users" on Oct. 13)Nov. 1: 43 millionDec. 1: 50 millionDec. 27: 62 millionJan. 1: 65.8 million (forecast)Feb. 1: 85.2 million (forecast)"