Well, would you look at that. Google+, the oft-criticized social network from search giant Google, is growing remarkably fast.
Google+ picked up 66 percent more unique visitors between November and June for a total of 110.7 million visitors in June, according to comScore data. In the U.S., Google+ showed even stronger pickup, with 82 percent growth for a total of 27.7 million U.S. visitors in June.
comScore’s numbers reflect web traffic and don’t account for mobile or tablet traffic. Officially, Google has said that it has more than 150 million monthly active users and that 50 percent of active users sign in daily.
Whoa, Google+ is on track to be the next Facebook, you say. Well hold on there, cowboy. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out some obvious, unsexy reasons why Google+ grew uniques so significantly between November and June. Mainly, Google has pushed ahead its social layer strategy in recent months by intertwining a number of its products. The company has paid special attention to connecting search, Gmail, and Maps to Google+.
Also, don’t forget that Google’s local business pages are now Google+ Local business pages, which means that any time you search for a local business on Google, you’ll find a Google+ page waiting for you. The transition happened in late May, and I have to believe that it’s pushing millions of new visitors to Google+. There’s also the fact that any new Google account now automatically comes with a Google+ account.
Sure, I may be skeptical in thinking that these traffic gains aren’t a real indication that Google+, as a social network, poses any real threat to Facebook, but I’m not the only one.
“Users are not that active and [are] still relegated to a subset of tech savvy people,” Altimeter Group mobile analyst Chris Silva told me a few weeks ago at Google I/O. “[Google+] is not nearly as broadly accepted as Facebook.”
On the plus side of things, Google recently released promising and quite pretty mobile applications that not only make the Google+ experience far more compelling, but also show that Google, more so than Facebook, understands how to make a compelling social experience for touch-screen devices.