Google+ has seen a steady surge of new signups and user activity over the final quarter of 2011.
While more than a few doubters have wondered whether, after several failures, Google can succeed in the fickle world of social networks, new reports from analytics firm Chitika show the service has as many as 62 million users.
Google’s suite of social tools started out with strong user curiosity and great initial user statistics. Just three weeks after its launch, Google+ had already seen 20 million unique visitors.
However, both traffic to Google+ pages and users’ perceptions of activity on the service began to level off. A couple months after its launch, some of G+’s most ardent advocates were complaining that it was a ghost town and a graveyard.
A September study showed a 40 percent drop in public posting on Google+. Then, a widely circulated study published in October stated that visits to the service peaked quickly then dropped by 60 percent.
But one major strategic move has helped Google achieve steady growth: Google+ has been slowly integrated with other Google mobile and web applications, starting with Google Reader’s integration back in October. Now, you’ll find G+ features in Gmail, Google Apps, Blogger and more.
As the social tools and connections become more ubiquitous throughout Google’s sizable slice of the web, Google+’s statistics are climbing.
According to Chitika’s data, Google+ had a 118 percent increase in overall activity between September 2011 and November 2011. The service’s most significant growth happened between September and October, when Google+ grew 55 percent.
“When we look at engagement, we look at how often those users are coming back to Google, and they’re coming back all the time — for search, to look at maps, to read email,” said Google executive Bradley Horowitz in a recent exclusive interview with VentureBeat.
“Our engagement is extremely high, and this isn’t rhetoric. This is going to manifest in the products themselves.”
Still, Google+ has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook or even Twitter. Stats from the summer show G+ low in the rankings of social media traffic, with Facebook claiming around 90 percent of the pie: