ADOTAS – According to a report by Paul Allen, a Google+ “unofficial statistician” and the co-founder of Ancestry.com, Google+ now has 62 million users, and 24 percent of all of them joined in December alone. Allen explained he and his team have been keeping tabs on surnames on the network since July, with two adjustments (July 13 and Oct. 13) to account for official announcements from Google about user numbers.
In his statement, Allen explains the flush of new users by citing “the holidays, the TV commercials, the Android 4 signups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouth, or a combination of all these factors.” (Those are all factors that credit simple visibility, rather than anything Google+ happens to be doing now to set it apart from that other social network.) Nonetheless, he said he expects the rate of new signups — currently 625,000 a day — to continue past the end of December, and he projects Google+ will hit 100 million users by Feb. 25, 2012, and 200 million by Aug. 3. Meanwhile, Facebook cites more than 800 million active users right now.
“Active” is a key word in that last sentence. While Google+ user numbers may be climbing rapidly — in a kind of exponential growth that only makes sense if that growth is fueled by people noticing their friends and acquaintances are on and deciding it might as well be a good time to jump on that bandwagon — but these figures don’t say anything about the degree to which people are engaging with each other, or with organizations and brands, and they don’t say anything about how much time people are spending on Google+, or how frequently they’re logging in. We’re going to need a fresh study to contextualize these new stats, but back in July, Experian Hitwise already noted a drop-off in users’ repeat visits to Google+.
Allen wrote in his post that “as more users sign up, the value of the network will increase for everyone… It won’t be long before new users start encountering family and friends as well as the thriving tech and media sharing community that embraced Google+ early on.” But in order for that to happen, people are going to have to keep logging in after creating an account.