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September 19, 2012

Is the Released Google+ User Count the Naked Truth about the Social Site?

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Word has it that Google (News - Alert)+ has gone beyond the four hundred million-user milestone with around one hundred million of them being active monthly users. This is according to statistics released by Vic Gundotra, the company’s engineering vice president.

Though the number does not compare favorably with that of archrival Facebook (News - Alert), which has more than nine hundred million active users per month, it is a real milestone bearing in mind the fact that Google+ is still a “toddler” in social media. The bulk of this number joined ship within twelve months, which is very impressive.

However, the reality of the matter is somewhat complicated. In late July, Google set out to unify all of its messaging products. The upgrades, rolled out slowly over the months, to some extent have favored hits on Google+. For instance, the native Google Talk video chat no longer exists. We now have Hangouts, which are part of Google+. This implies that people who innocently want to chat are termed as active members of Google+.

The released statistics did not cater for this flaw, which we do not know whether it is a scheme to get traffic or is pure coincidence. Therefore, the number of users who actually log into the site with the sole purpose of viewing profiles and posts as it is the case for Facebook remains veiled in a hazy cloud. The fact that no Google official answered this question from the press during the statement release raises the speculation that the statistics are not fit for use in a social network prominence duel.

Criticism or no criticism, Google has already firmly placed Google+ at the center of all its products, which is different from Facebook and other social sites. Though some people might term the amalgamation of tones of services as uniqueness that makes the social site more prolific, most people feel that Google has to draw a clear line around services in Google+, else, I see a future when most of us will be using Google+ involuntarily, being citizens of an incognito virtual city.

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Edited by Rich Steeves
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