Actually, Google’s social networking platform had a very encouraging quarter, as CEO Larry Page announced last week that Google+ now boasts more than 90 million users worldwide, more than double the number of users it had in the previous quarter. Page also said that engagement on the social networking site has been “growing tremendously” as “over 60% of [users] engage daily, and over 80% weekly.”
Page did not provide data for how many user accounts were actually active, however. This prompted Kelly Fiveash at The Register to express skepticism that many users were actually using the site for social networking purposes instead of using it as a portal to check their email.
“It clearly hopes to ratchet up that user base, but sadly for Google, its failure to provide a breakdown of how much live activity is taking place on its network leaves the company open to ridicule,” writes Fiveash. “Google execs could learn a thing or two from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg here. He has previously described sign-up metrics as being a bit dull.”
While Google+’s reported growth has been impressive, the platform still has a long way to go to catch Facebook, which has upward of 800 million users. Google has been trying to heavily promote Google+ as a social networking alternative and has sparked controversy for its integration of Google+ results into its standard search results. Essentially, Google has added a personal search component to its traditional searches, so if you search for a particular topic on the search engine, you’ll also be given recent postings from your friends who have written about that topic on Google+. Twitter and other companies have accused Google of using their search engine power to unfairly promote their own social networking content at the expense of others.
In addition to its ‘Your World’ search addition, Google has also further integrated Google+ in Gmail by letting users add people to their Google+ circles through email. Google has also debuted Google+ business pages that are designed to help businesses have more interaction and even face-to-face time with their customers. Similar to the ‘Your World’ search integration, Google has created search functionality for its business pages that takes you right to a company’s Google+ page if you do a search with the ‘+’ symbol as the prefix and the company name.