The good news for Google+: it may now have 18 million users, less than a week after Google CEO Larry Page said it had signed up 10 million users.
The bad news for Google+: growth seems to be slowing.
Those are two bullet points Ancestry.com founder Paul Allen said he arrived at following his latest round of surname searches on Google+, the social network that would challenge Facebook.
However, it's important to note that Allen's calculations may be liberal.
Shortly after Google+ launched June 28, Allen began querying surnames, first with 100 queries, then with 1,000 queries to calculate Google+ user numbers.
On July 14, the day Page revealed the 10 million user figure, Allen said he'd pegged + at 13 millon users.
So Allen's latest18 million number could be overshooting actual users by a few million. Or, it could be spot on, because Page never said "when" Google hit the 10 million user mark.
The number could have been hit a day or two earlier than July 14, which would have made Allen's stats more accurate. Still, the growth is impressive, as Allen's data noted:
For two days last week, Allen said more than 2 million signed up in a single day. If that rate had continued, Google+ would have reached 20 million users by this past Sunday night.
Here is the concerning point: Google has only averaged 948,000 new users. the site added only 763,000 users July 19 after adding 750,000 on July 18.
Now here is the, let's-not-hit-the-panic-button-yet point, First, + is in limited field test whetting the appetites of early power users.
Allen also correctly noted that Google hasn't started marketing Google+ through any of its other channels, which includes more than 1 billion users of Google search, as well as hundreds of users of Gmail, YouTube and other Web services.
Moreover, just wait until businesses advertise on Google+ and wait til Google+ extends its tendrils outside the Google construct. It will be like the Facebook Like button all over again, with businesses paying out the wazoo to advertise on Google to reach other Website users.
Imagine the Google +1 button everywhere on the Web and that leading to ad dollars and more users.
Eventually, Google+ will be spread across all Google products, large and small. "When that happens, you will likely see millions of people joining Google+ every day for some period of time," Allen noted.
Interestingly, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt -- the same man who promised Google+ would seep into all Google products in time -- did another mea culpa about why Google+ is so late to the market. Schmidt told CNN:
"Fundamentally, what Facebook has done is built a way to figure out who people are. That system is missing in the internet as a whole. Google should have worked on this earlier. I think that's the area where I would have put more resources, developing these identity services and ranking systems that go along with that. That would have made a big difference for the internet as a whole."
This isn't the first time Schmidt has said this; he made a similar admission in late May at the D9 conference, after which I suggested that is why Page is now running the company. Actually, Schmidt's comment was less tempered then:
"A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up," Schmidt said, noting that he and fellow executives discussed the growing Facebook threat in internal memos four years ago but did not act on the trend quickly enough.
Want to see Schmidt admit it on national TV? Check out the CNN clip here: