According to data released this week by internet analytics firm GlobalWebIndex, Google Plus is gaining so many new users that has officially outrun Twitter as the world’s number two social network behind the almighty Facebook.
Google Plus now boasts 359 million active users, up 33 percent from 269 million users at the end of June of 2012. GlobalWebIndex cites Google’s efforts to connect Google Plus with YouTube, Google Maps and its search engine as the reason behind its sudden and frankly unexpected growth.
500 million people currently have Google Plus accounts, though only 135 million are actively posting to Google Plus pages. Facebook is still far ahead with 701 million active users and over a billion accounts.
A large part of the reason Google Plus is winning over more and more people is because of the freedom it gives users to shape and customize their pages to their liking. New Zealand photographer Trey Ratcliff is the owner of an artistic, visually stunning Google Plus page that has nearly 5 million followers.
“It’s nice to pop into Google Plus to discover new things. Facebook is pretty good, but it’s harder to discover new people or have more in-depth discussions around passions,” Trey said in an email exchange.
Google Plus is also more suited for meeting strangers and connecting with potential business partners than Facebook. Last year, Google Plus added the “Communities” section, which offers a massive amount of diverse groups users can join for a “hangout,” a popular group video service.
“We’re extremely happy with our progress so far, and one of our main goals is to transform the overall Google experience and make all of the services people already love faster, more relevant, and more reliable,” Google said.
Having an active Google Plus account also makes your own name much more accessible through Google’s search engine.
“An authoritative Google Plus account is one of the factors that will help you rank high on Google (search results),” said Claire Stokoe, social media manager at marketing agency Mediaworks. She noted that a popular Google Plus account places the user into the search algorithm that ranks pages.
Twitter is currently the fastest-growing network, increasing from 206 million users at the end of June of 2012 to 297 million users today.
Facebook, however, is growing at the same rate as Google Plus. It would be growing much faster were it not for “Facebook fatigue,” the concept of users in many different countries growing bored of the service and the increasing presence of sponsored content.
GlobalWebIndex and elitedaily.com
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