Posted January 28, 2013 5:34 pm by with 5 comments

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We’ve got to stop saying that no one is using Google+ because clearly, it’s more than a blip on the social radar. The latest GlobalWebIndex report shows that 25% of global internet users are ACTIVELY using Google+. That’s what it says, but I’m not sure I believe it.

globalwebindex dec 2012 users

Facebook is still way ahead of the pack but look at the close race after that. YouTube and Twitter are neck-and-neck for active users but Twitter had the most growth over the past year.

Everytime we see one of these reports, we have to question the numbers because Google is more than just a social network. Since simply logging in to your Gmail can hook you to Google+, it’s easy to inflate the number of actual users. But GlobalWebIndex says that their numbers do represent ACTIVE users defined as “Used or contributed to in the past month.”

Okay, but still I say, what does that mean? To me, an active user on Google+ is someone who logged on to that social site and either posted, shared or read a post. Anything less is not active. Simply having an account hooked to your YouTube account is not active.

The trouble is, the whole internet is becoming so interconnected, it’s getting harder and harder to count meaningful interactions. If I “Like” a Facebook link on an article on the web, does that make me an active Facebook user? How about if I use Facebook connect to log in to Pinterest? Seems like I could be counted as an active Facebook user without ever visiting the site itself.

But let’s get back to Google+. GWI says that even though Google+ is growing, Facebook has nothing to fear. In spite of all the grumbling people do about the big F, the site is still gaining members on a regular basis. So where are the extra bodies coming from? Smaller, local social networking sites.

Look at the percent of change between Q2 and Q4 of last year, it’s pretty remarkable.

globalwebindex dec 2012 growthThere’s Twitter, growing like a week. Facebook barely inches out Google+ and look at LinkedIn and Pinterest, both gaining ground.

The losers? Local networks in China, Germany, South Korea and the Netherlands.

I like it. It shows that people all over the world are willing to step outside of their familiar box in favor of an international community. It truly is, a small world, after all.

Are you ready to give Google+ another try or are you one of those diehards who never left?

  • better believe it. I’ve been on google+ for over a year but always rumors it’s a ghost town. recently I disengaged myself from facebook and joined a few google+ communities. wow! I post a picture, within minutes I got a comment. by end of day, depending on the picture’s interest it can go up to 20! try that on facebook!!! in 3 years, I got maybe 3 picture likes and about 2 comments.

    • Brandon Hann

      I have to side with you on this one. I was playing around with a Google+ page I created strictly for my photography (as a hobby, not a business) and I was amazed at how joining a few communities and sharing photos with them really got a lot of attention. I now have followers and people commenting, etc. Maybe this hobby will turn into a business somewhere down the line! Anyway, back to your point, I have many more followers on the Facebook version of that same page and like you, I get very low activity there even though I’m sharing the same content.

  • While I agree that Google+ is not the ghost town it is rumored to be, it definitely is for some people. I am 24 years old, and find the interaction level of most people with accounts is absurdly low compared to facebook. I find that in tech related circles, it is more popular. Of course, Google+ can barely be considered a real hit, because Google has rolled all of their accounts into one singular account, and gotten a lot more people to their network who do not actively use it.

  • Joscelin Trouwborst

    Yes, nice term ‘ecosystem’. To me too it is more than the number of apps in an app store. We see both Google and Microsoft blending all their services into one account. Mobile is the growth direction. So are location based services: where is what, what is it about and how can I share what I have done there. Now consider the integration of Google+ with Google Maps. Feels a lot better to me than what facebook is doing with its place pages and Microsoft Bing Maps. TripAdvisor should watch its tail. Ever tried to get support from facebook or report an anomaly? Its easy to give feedback on Google+. Noticed the speed of further development of Google+? To me they seem to have drawn a lot of users in a very short time. Realized how many Android users are around? I have been a Microsoft user since the eighties, but I am likely to buy a Google device soon. 😉

    • If you do, I’ll be the first to welcome you to the club!