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Google+ grows 43% in June (plus.google.com)
262 points by vibrunazo on July 17, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 183 comments

Sigh. We're drawing conclusions from Compete again?

I've said this before and I'll say it again; using Compete for quantitative traffic comparisons is flawed, particularly with social sites that utilize embeddable content. Their data has been proven wrong countless times. Until recently, Compete claimed Reddit (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/reddit.com/) had less traffic than Digg (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/digg.com/).

I don't have anything against Google+. But lets hold off on the congratulatory praise until we're sure the growth is real.

Seconded. Compete's numbers are just made up. I know for sure they are off by more than an order of magnitude for reddit (or at least were a year ago).

Most of the traffic tracking on the web involves plugins (generally in the form of a toolbar). I don't know about you guys, but I haven't had a 3rd party toolbar in my browser interface in a long time.

Compete, Alexa, etc. they're all tracking people who don't understand technology.

But it IS fair to say that the demographics of the set of users who have toolbars installed into their browser is different than those who do not.

Specifically, those that have them installed are more likely to be non-tech users than those without.

That's my guess with 0 data to back it up (but plenty of useless anecdotes!)

Compete buys samples of traffic from ISPs as its primary datasource. Your toolbar theory is incorrect.

> Compete, Alexa, etc. they're all tracking people who don't understand technology.

That would mean that G+ is even stronger as it seems mainly popular with the tech crowd.

I generally agree with your sentiment, but let's not get carried away: using 3rd party toolbars does not automatically render you unaware of technology.

No, but it makes for a very non-representative sample. Consider the number of people who lack the administrative rights to install a toolbar on the computer they use most often.

Compete's numbers are pretty good, you just have to understand the source. Digg showed more traffic, because Compete's datasource is US ISP logs, and any site with a digg button was added to digg's traffic.

The comparing reddit/digg on compete doesn't make much sense because of the digg button penetration. Just like comparing linkedin to google plus is stupid because many google properties make requests to plus.google.com.

Compete is a valuable tool, you just need to learn how to use it appropriately. Learn when it is reasonable to compare sites using it.

That's a reasonable explanation, but it's dishonest for Compete to put these numbers on a graph labelled "unique visitors". The Google+ poster didn't have any inkling about what the numbers represent.


According to one of Google's own services, google+ is pretty much dead:


compare with fb:


edit: thank you downvoters for illustrating the bias on HN. A fake stats piece promoting google as #1 on the frontpage? This place is turning into /. but with more google employees. I'm out.

Ugh. You can't divine traffic numbers from search volume and news mentions.

If that were the case, Mitt Romney should start a social network because he's crushing Facebook: http://www.google.com/trends/viz?q=romney&graph=weekly_i...

lol, romney doesn't even register when compared to fb:


red=fb, blue= romney

The reason this is relevant in the discussion is that when you type in the url in chrome (arguably the top browser) the word in the domain and subdomain count as search words that show up in trends. So when you type "plus" for the g+ url it's added to trends. You can check that little fact by looking at the trends for "plus".

If you've already been on Plus, and you're in chrome or (I think) Firefox, it won't do a search when you type "plus" as the top autocomplete suggestion will be "http://plus.google.com. To search, you'd have to key down the list of suggestions.

Look at the scale on your two pictures.

if you look the number on the axis they are pretty much the same, but facebook didnt have any spike...

you obviously aren't familiar with how google trends works. The y-axis is "based on the average worldwide traffic of <search term> in all years". If you search for multiple terms, the y axis is the average of the first term. So to make a comparison, you should have included both terms: http://www.google.com/trends/?q=google+plus,+reddit

According to compete Digg is bigger that Reddit and growing.

My apologies, I can't seem to put them side by side, but I'm pretty sure when I checked some time ago that was the case. I clearly isn't any more.

Uh? It's actually saying reddit is bigger (1.8m) and growing, while digg is smaller (1.3m) and shrinking.

That's what "until recently" means.

Wow. Lots of impressions here.

MySpace is so small now! And shrinking! Let us never forget that history.

Tumblr and pinterest are adding a lot fewer users than I thought.

Gosh just look at the page. Google+ looks very clean and beautiful compared to Facebook these days. I'm reminded of when everybody used to say "Facebook looks very clean and beautiful compared to MySpace these days".

Google has a big leg up here as Google+ ads can always be less intrusive and more relevant than Facebook ones. They can also afford to be cleaner by simply not making much (if any) money off of Google+ itself, just on the fact that it gets you into the google ecosystem.

One thing that really bothers me about new Google web properties is that Google made this browser, Google Chrome, with a search functionality that highlights the matched words in orange on the scrollbar. Then they went and broke this feature on every single scrollbar possible by using custom scrollbars on every Google web property except Google search itself. How silly!


Back to the topic at hand. I love the format of Google+ compared to Facebook. It sits between blog and social network, and long-form posts and answers seem much more natural and acceptable on G+ than on Facebook.

Think about it. Lots of people link to Google+ posts here. Nobody links to the equivalent Facebook thing, wall posts. (And extremely few people use Facebook "notes" which were an attempt to fill that gap and have falled by the wayside.) I think this is one of the most telling things of all.

I think Google+ has great opportunity for it to mature into more than just a social network, but a social network + blog for those who cant be bothered to make (and visit!) traditional blogs + interactive press release platform (important for both companies and users).

I don't know if G+ will "win" any long term battle, but I do hope that when social networks mature into more refined, less annoying versions of themselves, they will look more like G+ than like Facebook or MySpace. I think the trend is clear, anyway.

Lots of people link to Google+ posts here. Nobody links to the equivalent Facebook thing, wall posts.

That's a bit misleading, because one of the few places G+ has gotten traction is among developers, mostly in the Google ecosystem (go figure). That's a big and important ecosystem, so it's not shocking that people from there would post stuff that occasionally is of interest to HN.

Facebook wall posts aren't used in the same way by the tech crowd -- probably mostly because they didn't work like blog posts or G+ posts until after G+ launched -- so they don't get HN links. But in other communities people definitely link to wall posts. I work in politics and it's not unusual to see a politico use their Facebook wall as a kind of proto-blog. (Sarah Palin, or some nameless flack on her team at least, is/was a master at this.) It then gets plenty of links from political media.

> That's a bit misleading, because one of the few places G+ has gotten traction is among developers

I remember the same about Twitter, most users were devs and rails devs at that. Doesn't mean G+ will be as successful as Twitter though.

Fair, but shorter posts are far more relevant in the politics game than the developer community. I think it's a content length issue, not an ecosystem issue. Most of those developers were/are on Facebook before they adopted G+, and we never saw wall posts linked to on HN.

First, the OA's comparison is meaningless.

It focuses on vanity metrics rather than engagement or retention. A lot is written on that topic, so I won't repeat (see Tim Ferris: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/05/19/vanity-metri...). This article is excellent optimization for link baiting.

And it doesn't matter because most of these sites don't compete against each other. Each of these media sites has a different value prop, target demo and potential ARPU. For example, the value of a unique visitor on LinkedIn is way higher than on Tumblr, but it's a moot point because they aren't going after the same users (sure there will be some overlap, but that's in the same way that I visit HN and FB).

Second, these stats are utterly wrong.

Tumblr had 133M global uniques in that time, according to quantcast [1]. Pinterest had 45.8M US uniques around then [2]. And this completely ignores their quickly growing mobile traffic. Quantcast directly measures traffic by pixeling sites, so I trust their data over Compete in this case.

[1] http://www.quantcast.com/p-19UtqE8ngoZbM

[2] http://www.quantcast.com/pinterest.com

Claims of G+'s amazing growth always looks silly when I run this bookmarked Insights:


Does "Google Plus" also cover "G+" and "Google+" and whatever other variation of the name there is? That's probably the last way I'd think of searching for statistics on it.

Everything else you listed doesn't have any common aliases.

It doesn't appear to and I'm not exactly sure when + becomes viable in trends/insights although looking at it it looks like it's there for the last year or so.

However if you double the result volume to account for Google Plus and Google+ it's still unimpressive. More importantly the curve is flat for both.


All the shows is that people aren't searching for G+ on google - which would make sense, since there is a link to it right at the top of the search page.

Page views is a much better metric for this kind of thing - anyone who is engaged is not going to search for it more than once.

That link hasn't always been there and isn't there in your browser search box and doesn't even say "Google+" or "Google Plus" at least from where I'm sitting.

Page view data we have is, frankly, terrible. If Google wants to prove to the world what a huge success G+ they could do this in 10 seconds by giving us some pageview, photo, post, etc stats. The fact that they don't do this is telling.

"anyone who is engaged is not going to search for it more than once."

That's equally true or many other services and yet they trounce G+ both in absolute and trend.

If Google wants to prove to the world what a huge success G+ they could do this in 10 seconds by giving us some pageview, photo, post, etc stats.

From the linked article:

During the Google I/O Conference in June, Google’s Vic Gundotra announced that the Google+ mobile traffic is now larger than the desktop traffic. Gundotra also announced that Google+ has 250 million accounts, 150 million active users during a month and 75 million active daily users.

So there is that.

The fact that they don't do this is telling

Facebook has never given number any more detailed than the ones Gundotra gave.

"Google+ mobile traffic is now larger than the desktop traffic"

All this does is confirm that G+ isn't growing organically, it's growing only because it's default on for most new Android and Gmail users.

Claiming all these people as G+ users is only slightly less disingenuous then say if Apple came out tomorrow claiming that iCloud was the hottest new social network.

I disagree - I use G+ mobile more than desktop, not because it was preinstalled but just because it fits into my usage more, and google+ has great apps.

This is a completely biased claim. Just because you think that it doesn't mean it actually happens...

Uh, yes they have. Have you seem Facebook's press page?

Do you mean http://newsroom.fb.com/?

I'm not seeing any detailed statistics - actually I can't even see the known publicly available numbers.

Do you have a direct link?

Try adding Facebook to the mix too:


Absolutely dwarfs everything else. I'm not buying that G+ has 1/5 of the MAU's of Facebook

isn't is a bit redundant to search for google+ on google? i'm not sure how accurate this is, for this reason.

Very useful, thank you.

I agree with this.

The implementation of Google+ Platform on websites seems to have plateaued recently, meaning, if these stats are correct, the visitors are probably not coming in from the web, they may be being coerced in from other Google products.


Disclaimer I run BuiltWith.

Speaking of the format, there is something that bothers me with the aesthetics of Google+, and I wonder if the feeling is shared by anyone on HN: It feels like there is too much emphasis on the interface. To exaggerate a bit, using all the bubble boxes and colored buttons feels like operating a Fisher Price toy. I would rather have a discreet and elegant interface that emphasizes the content. Maybe the mobile app is better in this respect...

I have to agree with you: IMO G+ on the desktop is kludgy. For example it's use of the mouseover to highlight the option buttons on the left, as well the highlighted/unhighlighted color choice, are not intuitive or what we are used to, and the number of tabs on the top for your Circles should be much higher than the default 3 (excluding the More tab). The upshot is more mouse clicks are required to get around - that bugs me.

Apart from that kind of peeve, I like G+ a lot and spend quite a bit of time there. I go to FB on occasion to see what my family and friends have posted but haven't really interacted much since engaging on G+.

These numbers also seem to only be US numbers, so it might be hiding a lot of international growth in LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr (not to mention Facebook).

> MySpace is so small now! And shrinking! Let us never forget that history.

So telling that you ask me not to forget MySpace's history, but Friendster is no longer mentioned - so I guess this means that we only remember one social network back ;)

Lest we forget SixDegrees.

Friendster was never really a thing. MySpace was actually briefly popular, before Facebook opened up to everyone.

Friendster was definitely a thing, before MySpace. If we are going to have a quantitative argument there will need to be high quality numbers

One of the biggest wins of Google+ is its mobile app. Light years ahead of Facebook - which is slow and a power hog (without focusing on their recent bugs)

For the HN crowd, several influential releases/announcements are now using Google+ exclusively: Linus Torvalds, lennart poettering, Cyanogenmod, Ingo Molnar.

They still havent gotten the public/private interaction model right yet. For example, Linus went on an extended rant complaining about Google Events being used by uninvited spammers (which then got fixed when Vic Gundotra took it up)

The G+ mobile app is really nice to use. It surprises me that the G+ desktop team is lagging so much behind the mobile team.

Tumblr and pinterest are adding a lot fewer users than I thought.

Both of them are terrible on mobile.

Pinterest is totally not transferable to small screen mobile devices. Its main point is to offer many images at a glance, which is impossible on small screen.

Wow, and I always thought Pinterest was a smartphone app like Instagram. (Not interested in it so I never bothered checking)

There is a Pinterest iOS app but the web site is definitely the preferred way of using it. The phone app attempts to look like the web site but the layout doesn't transfer to the tiny iPhone screen very well and is not very nice to use because of this.

You should really check out Pinterest even if you aren't interested in the content -- the UI they have created is very slick and interesting.

I encourage you to check out DRIFT[1]. You can browse the latest images for inspiration (á la Pinterest), and its responsive design scales from large-screen TVs to the smallest handheld devices.

[1] http://drift.io

The recently released Tumblr app for iPhone is not too shabby at all and is hopefully a step in the right direction for Tumblr on mobile.

On the flip side, the Facebook mobile experience is pretty terrible as well, but Facebook already has quite a large (and growing) user base already, so I wonder if mobile user experience is as important to growth as is existing, for lack of a better word, penetration.

EDIT: Just noticed this line from the post: "The Compete numbers are US only and desktop only."

Lots of impressions and yet nobody but developers truly use it. MySpace isn't entirely dead are we forgetting that Justin Timberlake and Specific Media purchased the company not too long ago and have been working effortlessly in the background preparing to relaunch the website? If anyone should be worried it should be Google, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest because many seem to forget MySpace possess a pretty large catalogue of indie and mainstream music, they have licence agreements with the big four record labels, have millions of videos... People love an underdog and I think MySpace is in a prime position when it relaunches.

Comparing Tumblr or Pinterest to Google+ is like comparing a motorbike to a car, both forms of transport but each serves a different purpose. Google+ haven't won anything yet and I doubt they will, the landscape is going to be marginally different come 2013.

working effortlessly in the background

Not sure what you are trying to say here, but I'm pretty sure someone working effortlessly in the background isn't adding a lot of value.

If anyone should be worried it should be Google, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest because many seem to forget MySpace

Wow, there is a bold prediction.

the landscape is going to be marginally different come 2013

A much less bold prediction, and somewhat at odds with what you wrote earlier.

Nitpicking of my grammar aside, I'm not making bold predictions in-fact I know a lot about the plans for the relaunch of MySpace I am just not at liberty to say because of confidentiality agreements but lets just say that when it relaunches it's going to be dramatically different, not try and compete with the likes of Facebook or Google directly but rather indirectly.

I don't get people like yourself who so easily criticise everything others say instead of asking questions.

I thought Myspace already relaunched? Or are they going to do a re-relaunch?

They are relaunching again. You're thinking of the failed relaunch when Rupert Murdoch bought it. MySpace sat stagnant for about a year before Specific Media and Justin Timberlake bought it for $35 million. They're currently in the process of relaunching with focus being on media not as just another social network to compete with Facebook. I can't reveal any information about it, but lets just say I'm pretty in the know of MySpace happenings and plans for the relaunch and a lot of people are going to be very surprised of the new direction.

> just on the fact that it gets you into the google ecosystem

Don't forget that increased G+ use also should mean reduced eyeballs to the competition. If google gets its revenue from non-social, making social a monitization wasteland is a plus for them.

> MySpace is so small now! And shrinking! Let us never forget that history.

And let's see if they can pivot the business around media. Myspace TV is a quite interesting idea and I'm waiting to see what's going to happen with it...

Facebook ads aren't relevant? I'm no ad expert but I heard of someone proposing by a very strictly relevant Facebook advert.

Yes, but I know dozens of people on LinkedIn. I know one active Google+ user and he's a bit of a Google fanboy to begin with.

None of the non-techie people I know use Google+ or even mention it at all.

Obviously anecdotal. One explanation might be G+ international popularity. A quick look at "what's hot" and you'll see plenty of center and eastern asian names on the comments. The Android developer relations team makes weekly public hangouts in different time zones. I tried a few different ones out of curiosity and noticed that both the Indian and Brazilian ones are much more popular than the american hangout (which is the only that is live from the Googleplex, so you'd assume this would be the most popular).

Maybe the bunch of google+ audience just happen to not be part of your social circle. Personally, I'd love to see some g+ usage statistics divided by demographics to confirm this hypothesis. (specially since the author explicits these numbers are from US only, not sure if that's right)

edit: G+ also seem to be extremely popular on very specific niches other than technology. Such as photograph and science. In fact, g+ developers make a big deal about their product being developed from and to photographers. You'll notice their mobile app focuses the whole experience on large beautiful photos because of it. Every day there's a different photographer-focused hashtag trending (today it's #TreeTuesday).

So yea, anecdotes, bad.

> One explanation might be G+ international popularity

Google have been doing a TON of PR in Japan. They're doing a collaboration[0] with Japan's top J-Pop group (AKB48, with 200+ members) where they gave them all high-end Samsung phones and G+ accounts to post on. Some popular members used to post on Twitter and Ameblo, but this has extended to all members. They've also done exclusive G+ live streams of concerts, and when the group had their yearly popularity contest, Google+ had a live stream with live +1 buttons that graphed the mood over time[1].

I imagine they've also been recruiting other celebrities in Japan to drive adoption.

[0] http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/project48/

[1] http://www.akb48plus.com/senkyo/en/teaser.html

I'm in Taiwan and I sometimes see ads like "Follow your favorite pop stars on Google+!"

"One explanation might be G+ international popularity."

Another explanation is that it's impossible to sign up for any google product (like gmail) w/o getting herded into google plus.

GMail numbers weren't broken out, but YouTube rivals Facebook at ~150m uniques monthly.

There's been a lot made of FB (and other social networks) primarily being photo-sharing networks. While I doubt video will ever quite have the same impact (they're deeper but not as casually shared), it probably will grow as a social element, and Google are beautifully positioned in this regard.

You seem to be implying that video is some new trend to social networks. It isn't.

So I fail to see what Google+ brings to the table other than an inbuilt video chat client which has been done so many times over the last decade.

It's a growing trend, not necessarily new. Phones have video recorders, and quality and proliferation are growing. Again, YouTube's in the pole position, this is its race to lose.

Technology, even once widely available, can take a while to take off.

They aren't counting the number of registrations but hits. Registrations will have a minimal effect on that.

I think G+ is going to worm its way in by offering add-ons that actually draw people in. The two major examples for me are Hangouts and the fact that G+ posts from 'important' people appear in Google News rollups about a particular story.

Hangouts are really the only reason I've ever seen a non-techie use G+, and they work really well. People seem to try Skype and then realize that there are weird rules about having to pay if you want group video chat, so people hop over to G+ and it just works.

And the news thing seems really interesting to me because it seems to highlight provocative things said by public personalities and then lets everyone with a Google account join the discussion as 'part of Google plus'. That seems like something that could get pretty sticky.

I'm also seeing more google results to G+ pages instead of the wikipedia page when searching for names, famous people, topics, places and so on. Coincidence?

Are you seeing them as organic search results, or as "social search" features added into the mix?

I can't say I've seen a lot of G+ pages as organic results, but they do seem to feel free to inject links to social media profiles when they're related in some way to a search result.

If not coincidence, an anti-trust suit waiting to happen...

My extended family uses G+ hangouts to keep in touch. For 2 people Skype is actually easier, but for a bunch of people (we once had Minnesota, California, New Hampshire, and Switzerland talking together), G+ is pretty smooth.

That's a good point. I don't recall the last time I saw a non-techie even mention G+.

Quality of membership(i.e actual use) is more important than raw membership numbers. Those who seek out LinkedIn/Facebook/others are likely to be more interested in using the service than someone who joined G+ because their default search engine asked them to enter their google services password to instantly become a member.

A comparable example is Apple's Ping. Apple doesn't tout Ping as a success because it has millions of members (who were similarly presented with a trivial sign up method in iTunes 10 - Ping registered over 1M users in the first 48 hours.) Ping, however, is rarely used by the bulk of it's members, as such it's being discontinued. Most people signed up just to see what it was like, they didn't stick around. Facebook/LinkedIn don't have this problem so much, most people already know what the services are for, so they don't need to create a profile just to see what it's like.

G+ is growing, but it's an overstatement to say that it has the same level of user engagement as facebook/LinkedIn/others.

While many continue with the faulty logic that G+ is a superior experience/platform so it should become the dominant service, need to revisit the learnings of Betamax: technical superiority does not equate to automatic or guaranteed success.

Yes, but I know dozens of people on LinkedIn. I know one active Google+ user and he's a bit of a Google fanboy to begin with.

Why is there the need to respond to data with anecdotes? If I give a Google+ growth anecdote, does that invalidate yours?

I have no idea why Google+ is being compared to LinkedIn. They have very little overlap. Even among Facebook and Google+ the overlap is limited.

Nonetheless Google keeps iterating on the product and it seems to be paying off. The Android Google+ client is now superb, and the content richness seems to be greatly improving, particularly in the tech field. Which is important because the tech field is what generally leads the growth curve.

Because data can also lie. The key here is that the number reported is "unique visitors" – what, exactly, is this telling us?

Not much at all because it says nothing of intent, much less duration of stay on that page or frequency of use.

In the absence of that additional data, anecdotes can be useful to express doubt or confusion about data that seems to not pass the sniff-test. It can be as minimal as "is it just me, or does ... ?" sort of constructions or it can be more formalized to say – "This doesn't fit with my personal observations".

The mistake is thinking that anecdotes add up to data – they don't – but put enough of them together and they can be heuristically valuable – and one on its own, in the absence of other real data, is still a completely valid construct for conversational purposes or to challenge (albeit weakly) some over-cooked claim, like what I'm seeing here, with the google+ traffic data. The refutation of such an anecdotal experience with sound evidence doesn't mean the the anecdote was worthless – hardly. It was valuable because it was provocative.

OP: Wrong.

Anecdote: Wrong.

incongruity: Two wrongs make a right!

George E.P. Box is quoted as saying: "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

I would adapt that and say that all anecdotes are wrong, but some are useful.

Surely you have to make an actual argument as to why it's useful though? So far all I've heard is "my friends don't use G+".

Truth be told, I'm not arguing strongly in support of the original bit of anecdotal evidence. I was more responding to the quote:

"Why is there the need to respond to data with anecdotes?"

I feel as though I made my case pretty well for a generalized reason, above. In this particular case, as I said:

"The key here is that the number reported is "unique visitors" – what, exactly, is this telling us? Not much at all because it says nothing of intent, much less duration of stay on that page or frequency of use.

I think there's much ado about little data. So, in the face of not all that informative of data, I think a weak bit of anecdotal pushback is wonderful if it gets conversation started.

Conversation is pretty worthless when it's speculation piled on speculation. If that's your thing, then well... okay.

I mean... if there's much ado about little data, why is it that MORE ado is better?

The simplest answer: see work on abductive reasoning and hypothesis building.

But, more fully, anecdotes aren't speculation. They're individual experience. They are not, of course, a statistically representative sample. That doesn't mean it's worthless – it's just not authoritative, but it is still some person's real experience (internet truthiness aside). The all-or nothing view of validity and knowledge is problematic – and likely not reflective of how you or anyone else actually deals with reasoning.

Beyond that if it sparked discussion that either spurred the uncovering of real data or identified the requirement of further considerations, it's still of value.

> Beyond that if it sparked discussion that either spurred the uncovering of real data or identified the requirement of further considerations, it's still of value.

Which it didn't. We're not going to get better data until Google releases it, and Google is clearly not going to be doing so.

> But, more fully, anecdotes aren't speculation.

This claim would be okay if the anecdote was offered in a neutral environment. Here, however, it's being offered as contradictory evidence. The speculation isn't in the anecdote: it's in the purpose of offering the anecdote in the first place.

The anecdote was about the same as a TIOBE survey result coming out and responding with, "Oh, but I know a lot of Haskell programmers and don't know any Python programmers." That's wonderful for you and all, but your experience is seriously not relevant, nor does it prompt useful discussion or the discovery of useful data.

I agree that anecdotes can be useful. That's half the purpose of journalism: finding anecdotes.

I disagree that they are useful here.

> Beyond that if it sparked discussion that either spurred the uncovering of real data or identified the requirement of further considerations, it's still of value.

Which it didn't. We're not going to get better data until Google releases it, and Google is clearly not going to be doing so.

It most certainly did spark discussion – I'd point out, somewhat ironically that you've been involved in one of them yourself – but there were a number of other replies. Some of which (mine included) addressed the data issue head-on.

> But, more fully, anecdotes aren't speculation. This claim would be okay if the anecdote was offered in a neutral environment.

There is no such thing as a neutral environment, so your premise fails from the start.

And, no, hits to a web page or unique visitor counts are not tantamount to real usage figures for a social media site. So the analogy to a TIOBE survey breaks down as well.

I disagree that they are useful here.


I said, explicitly that I was addressing the larger point of the other poster asking "Why is there the need to respond to data with anecdotes?" I started directly by pointing out the failing of "data" in this case – I find it to be an over-played trope to always say "anecdote BAD!" and yet people fall all over themselves if someone puts a shitty graph or table up, not stoping to consider what the "data" means and what possible failings it might have.

And that led me directly to the value of anecdotes in general terms – something you now say you agree with, so we'll call that point made.

Given that we agree about the general value, I think it's clear that in the face of crappy, blindly accepted data, a mere (and admittedly weak) piece of anecdotal observation does, in fact, point out that the emperor has no clothes – the data pointed to here is very, very lacking. The anecdote was weak, but sufficient for what should have been an obvious task of poking holes in questionable data.

Instead, you prove my point by digging in your heels even more because someone tossed out an anecdote.

> Why is there the need to respond to data with anecdotes?

Why, haven't you heard? The plural of anecdote is data! :-)

> Which is important because the tech field is what generally leads the growth curve.

No it doesn't.

You only have to look at Digg and Reddit to see that just because you have tech users does not mean you will see widespread growth outside that demographic.

And sites like Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram even Facebook grew because of non tech users.

I'm a little unsure what you mean by referencing Digg and Reddit, however both of them were/are limited to the tech field. They both started as programmer link sites, but that side of the sites withered away as they became yet another mainstream site.

LinkedIn was dominated by the tech field. Specifically the valley tech field. That was what gave it the network effect.

I'm on Google+ because I have a Gmail account.

I'm on Linkedin (and Facebook) because they offer value.

The irony is that most people use Facebook (and LinkedIn) as glorified publicly-facing email accounts with automatic reply-to-all and attachments set to auto-open and display in-line. The only thing added is a rudimentary voting system.

I use Facebook to share and chat about photos.

I use LinkedIn for recruiting.

I use neither as "publicly facing email accounts".

At some level, any application can be described as "forms with some text inputs and some submit buttons".

"I use Facebook to share and chat about photos."

Which I'm sure you used to do in email. Smaller circle, same user task.

"I use LinkedIn for recruiting."

I still use email sometimes for that. Smaller circle, same user tasks (attaching resumes, getting contact info for screenings, planning meet and greets).

Actually, it was Monster.com + email, so yeah, I guess LinkedIn replaced those.

You can easily do HN via email too; it's called a mailing list.

Definitely. But that's the thing. GP said he only has G+ because he has GMail, but uses those other email workalike interfaces because they are superior products. Just pointing out that they work in strikingly similar ways to email.

publicly facing email accounts

I believe the argument was that posting a picture is analogous to emailing that picture to your friends, and commenting on that picture is the same as hitting "reply to all" on that email. It's the same behavior, presented in a different format.

> The only thing added is a rudimentary voting system.

I feel obligated to take issue with your characterization of Likes as voting of ... any kind. Or were you referring to something else? I'm not an FB expert.

Wait, you have a G+ page, space, whatever automatically because you have a gmail account? Is there a way to get rid of that?

> Wait, you have a G+ page, space, whatever automatically because you have a gmail account?

No - you have to opt in.

> Is there a way to get rid of that?

If you want to disable G+ on your account (which will also remove your G+ profile), you can go to the "Google+" section of your Google account settings page (https://www.google.com/settings/plus). At the bottom there is a section labelled "Disable Google+".

When the most obvious option for avoiding a popup each time one accesses Gmail is joining Google+, it's a bit misleading to call it opting in.

If you'are getting a "join Google+" pop-up every time you access Gmail then there is something wrong.

That is definitely not the behavior I see on my alternate Gmail account which is opted out of Google+.

Not for me. Nothing on that link even mentions google+. I have looked several times as I know I'm a dopey twit and often miss the blinding obvious, but I cant see it!! Regional difference?

No - it just means you haven't opted in to Google+.

To check - I just created a test gmail account and opted out of Google+. The Google+ section disappeared from my account settings page, which makes sense.

I don't work on the sign-up/opt-out flow side of things, but AFAIK the policy should be basically the same everywhere.

<sorry, meta> Is there a way to perhaps add revision history to mod-altered post titles?

It's confusing and maybe even counter-productive in some cases when these ninja-edits happen.

If there is a reason to change the title, let people know why. This adds to the available collective information as to what's acceptable or expected.

Example: user w submits post with good intentions and unintentionally uses an x title which is not appropriate. Title is changed by mod and user checks history. User sees title wasn't appropriate because y. Next time, user thinks about it and tries harder to be more concise/accurate. Progress.

Given the way Google has been using high-pressure onboarding through several of their existing customer bases, I'm not surprised. And "visitors" likely counts people who got linked to a single post.

It's akin to a grocer refusing cash and instead only accepting payments made with their branded store card, for the customer's benefit.

I'm surprised there hasn't been a legal challenge to this.

Not sure why you have been downvoted.

What Google is doing is very much reminiscent of what got Microsoft into so much trouble. Using a monopoly in one area to extend into another.

what area does Google have a monopoly in? Surely not search, email, or the browser. MS wasn't just cross-marketing, it was bundling IE and setting it as default which was unfair competition given that getting netscape required a lot more work (knowledge of the alternative, pre-broadband download and install). That plus bullying OEMs into unfavorable contracts. It's a poor analogy because Google doesn't own the web platform, and it's incredibly easy to switch services (just change your bookmarks).

> and it's incredibly easy to switch services

Not when you have your entire team/company using gmail as a paid service. And when you factor in the part about the user being the product in social networking, basically you're forcing a paying customer of one product to become a revenue stream in another.

Monopolies find themselves in trouble over this all time, just like when a customer service agent from your credit card company or local energy conglomerate passes you onto a sales rep from a third party without your knowledge. It's how they scam the old, ignorant and uninformed.

tl;dr: you cannot change your bookmarks when you have no other options.

Nice try. I have to sign up for Google+ to read on article about Google+? If this is the dodgy tactics used to drive up usage numbers then Google+ must not be offering any intrinsic value. As for now, LinkedIn is providing me greater value. Actual value, without gimmicks.

You can't view the post? I can view it without signing in, using incognito mode. Regardless, the post is by Morten Myrstad, who works at Kontxt, not a Google employee.

I've noticed that viewing G+ posts on a mobile device requires me to log in, but not with a standard OSX/windows device. Pretty infuriating.

You probably have a Google account in some way, then. I've noticed that visiting a Google Groups article prompts me for a login, which doesn't happen if I delete their cookies. It's a sneaky ploy to keep your session time up.

Please keep in mind that Compete's data is from ISP data, so any http request to plus.google.com will count as a visitor. Which is why sites like, atdmt.com [1], have more "visitors" than google plus. I wouldn't trust compete's data for Google vs Linkedin because, the "uniques" could be coming from integrations with other google properties.

[1] http://siteanalytics.compete.com/atdmt.com/

1. Google+ is a lot more open. I get to interact with variety of people through public posts.

2. I have gotten rid of RSS Reader and now get all updates on G+ and blog. One less thing to worry about.

3. Too many people make too many posts on Facebook. Circle on G+ is growing on me.

4. I like everything Google.

> I have gotten rid of RSS Reader and now get all updates on G+ and blog

i would love for g+ to make this more of a supported use case. right now it's a pretty terrible RSS reader, but it could be a great one. It would have been a much better plan than annoying all the google reader users with half-assed G+ integration.

2. Google+ doesn't replace RSS at all. 95% of feeds I read for example have no Google+ equivalent.

3. Then filter those people from your feed or trim down the number of posts they make.

4. Even the privacy violations and anti-competitive behavior so serious they are under multiple investigations ?

I ditched RSS reader because it's a huge investment of time. I get all social media updates in G+. Most blogs would email you blog post. I have integrated all my RSS needs in programs I already use - G+ and Gmail. It is my own personal minimalist experiment.

How does he define a 'visit'?

It's a vague concept now - from an ISP perspective hitting a page with G+ (or T or FB) button on it when signed-in takes down a 'visit' sized payload.

When I +1 a page using Chrome Extension - is that a visit?

Same with mobile apps - what's a mobile 'visit' - an API GET?

I'd like to know also. I mean, all this post says to me is "Google+ gets more traffic than LinkedIn". That isn't much of a feat when you consider Google integrating G+ into searches, the use of browser extensions, etc.

It's labelled "visitor", which is even more bogus (most measures might discriminate browsers, cookies, or IPs, which adds systemic errors in both directions).

According to jcampbell1, this is requests per domain from a traffic sample intercepted by ISPs, which means that Facebook like buttons and Google +1 buttons dominate. All we have is a 47% or so change in how many of those ISP logs contain +1 buttons.

A likely cause for this that I haven't seen noted yet is that they are slyly directing people to G+ without the user even knowing. If you click on a Google Maps result to get the full information page, it's no longer a Google Maps page, it's a G+ page. These traffic numbers clearly include lots of people who got to G+ in this manner.

Yep, first noticed this a week ago. Lots of services redirecting into G+. Definitely going to skew the numbers WRT the concept of active vs passive growth.

I rarely use G+ for the actual plus.google.com site. Instead, I add interesting or helpful people to various circles, and they augment my regular search results. But before you do that you might want to follow these tips for dealing with the random people showing up in your chat contacts https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3472283 and flooding your "stream" https://plus.google.com/u/0/115948050407884269063/posts/Nd61...

Driving first time visitors doesn't mean anything for a social network unless they have retention. Show me that Google+ visitors return to the site regularly and I'll start to think this is more than just measuring the size of your car's engine to determine its top speed. Anecdotal evidence tells me otherwise -- there are tons of people on G+, but nobody uses it.

To anyone late to the party, the original title of the post pointed out that G+ has apparently surpassed LinkedIn in usage, which might explain why many posts focus on LinkedIn as a site for comparison.

The post was on the front-page with the original title for hours, I don't know why a mod decided that was the time to change it.

These numbers are showing G+ just a bit smaller than twitter traffic wise. I'm just not buying it.

It would be interesting to know if their definition of an "Active Google+ user" has changed. Otherwise those stats don't mean a thing.

Sure. I have a Google+ account, two even, because they are both attached to my private and business Google accounts. Same goes for almost everyone I know, they all have at least one Google+ account.

Only nobody I know, ever, ever uses Google+.

I'm guessing many visits I make to Google applications whilst logged in count as Google+ usage. In reality, I haven't used it since after the first month or two, and that is pretty much reflected by the people around me.

I'm on Google+ because I'm not cool enough to say I only know one person on Google+.

Let me know when Google+ actually works with my google apps email address. It says you have to enable it but I did enable it (terrible documentation/help to do so) and still could never get it to work with no useful error about what's wrong.

It should just work by default.

And if it's disabled, they should stop sending me emails asking me to sign up when they know perfectly well that they won't let me.

Somewhat off-topic, but this has been bugging me for years: for countries that use , instead of . in decimal numbers, how do they pronounce it? ie For the number 12.3 million, I could say "twelve point three million" or "twelve dot three million." For 12,3 million, do you say "twelve comma three million"?

Here in Brazil we do say "twelve comma three million", even tho our word for "comma" is much harder to say than our word for "dot". But since everyone says it, it just sounds natural anyway.

Thanks for the insight. One more thing I can't figure out based on your reply is: how do you differentiate a decimal number from a list of numbers? For example, consider the list:

    12.3, 7.6, 3.2
It's easy to see the three different numbers. But otherwise, wouldn't it be:

    12,3, 7,6, 3,2
And how would you dictate that? "twelve comma three comma seven comma six comma..."?

Those would be grammatically correct around here, I don't think I ever seen anything like that in the real world. In actual math classes people will usually just put parenthesis around numbers: (12, 3), (7, 6), (3,2). Sometimes people will actually replace the comma for the dot to avoid confusion (there's no hard rule set on stone, as long as you're being clear, it's ok). Sometimes people will just space them differently like you did and hope that's clear enough. For dictating, I don't think anyone would dictate the commas between numbers, you would just space them when speaking "twelve comma three.... seven comma six".

If you think that's confusing. It's funny to know that we often also use the dot as a multiplication sign. So "12.3,7" actually means "twelve multiplied by 3.7" in english. Btw I'm curious, does other countries also use dot for multiplication or is it only us?

I'm used to seeing parentheses around numbers when talking about ordered pairs, or in the context of matrices and dot products, etc.

We do use dots to represent multiplication, but they're not on the "ground", they're mid-height, aligned with -

In the US using a dot like ⋅ (&sdot) is common.

We mostly used ; in math classes.

For a set: { 1,2; 3,5; -12,1 }

Calculators that are otherwise internationalised force the dot convention.

Yes, in Norwegian you would say "tolv komma tre millioner".

Of course if I'm speaking English I would use "point".

OK, I can get used to that if I had to. I don't understand how lists would work though, like I ask here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4257721

12.3 million in Russian is either less correct "12 и 3 миллиона" (12 and 3 million) or more correct "12 целых 3 десятых миллиона" (12 whole 3 tenth million, same as rational fraction).

Germans do that - we even call IEEE floats "floating comma numbers".

I would vaguely say Facebook is a social network people actually want to be on. LinkedIn is a social network people might believe they need to be on. The two aspects are at least somewhat contradictory - a some significant portion of Facebook users are there to share things they wouldn't want an employer or potential customer to see whereas LinkedIn is fundamentally about selling one's self.

If Google+, using a tighter identity and so-forth, happens to replace LinkedIn, that would be one way to not be in direct competition with Facebook. But also to guarantee a certain limit to growth (at least until everyone in the world has to sell themselves to potential employers and customers all the time - sadly real possibility but one that thankfully isn't appearing tomorrow).

I'm reminded that Google+ hasn't caught every time I log on.

Between visits, I think I forget it even exists.

I know exactly what you mean. I created a Twitter account a couple years ago but never really followed anyone; the few times I've logged on I've had a chuckle about how apparently Twitter has zero users and then forgotten about it.

Odd. I've had to stop logging in as frequently because I keep finding new stuff to read there. And I keep having to mute posts I've commented on because the discussion moves too fast while I'm busy working.

Can we know the number of members instead of visitors ?

Worldwide Google+ has 270 million opened accounts. That is June figures, compared to 170 million in April. According to Google 150 million people worldwide log in to Google+ monthly, and 75 million people daily.


I cannot believe no one has brought up the fact Google's Chrome web browser updates have been practicing evil, and thus the impressive growth. Essentially, it tricks people into signing up as a Google user. The push to corner a phenomena, which has reached its peak, by Google has been rather jaw dropping. The next generation is about to change everything and only a few will guess correctly what they will make the next must-have service will be.

The only person I know on Google+ is my brother who works there. It's a good product, but it'd be a lot nicer if more people I knew used it.

Google+ is okay for early adopters but as long as my family and friends are immersed in facebook, the G+ is a hard sell. But since most people use google, and google has unified login system, it is very easy to join google+. But actively use it? I don't know. Does the average user spend so many minutes on google+ everyday like they do on facebook? I don't think so.

I would like to see how many people sign up for (and visit) Google+ due to the Instant Upload mobile photo feature. That's certainly my use case. I occasionally end up on Google+ from a search, but that's maybe once a month.

I love Google+, but the only reason I specifically visit the site is to view my Instant Upload album.

There are two sources confirming the same trend for Google+: Compete shows a growth of 43% - in monthly visitors - from May to June. Experian Hitwise shows a growth of around 35% - in monthly visits - in the same period. So I would think: Two analytical firms would hardly be wrong at the same time?

(unless they use the same flawed methodology)

The numbers are impressive but whenever I login to G+ my timeline is always like this: http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/239/d/f/forever_alone...

"Larger" is a relative term. How many people pay monthly subscriptions to LinkedIn vs Google+ ?

But who actually pays attention to it?

The main consequence from Google Plus is that I see Kingsley Idenhen's face every time I do a query connected with the semantic web.

For the life of me I can't figure out how to send people messages or get into a hangout or do anything with plus...

To quote Chelsea Handler (who doesn't get mentioned enough here on HN I think), G+ is a hot mess. It takes forever to load, it's confusing and opaque, and it simply doesn't, and probably won't, ever have the reach to be relevant.

Facebook has been putting a lot more ads in the newsfeed lately. I find it irritating because I can't just avoid them like I do with the ads on the right! These types of actions may lead more users to Google+

Ironic. Google is the world's biggest ad company. But people will run to Google to avoid ads?

Maybe until it becomes like youtube

Having said that though I still trust google more not to abuse their ad showing to the point of degrading the user experience

Maybe, maybe not. I signed up for a throwaway Gmail account today and along with it came a Google+ account. I didn't click on the G+ link, but how may people have, only to never visit again?

those numbers seem really really low for Facebook and Youtube.

They are US only

... But far less valuable, so far.

A less interesting title would have been "Gmail is (and always was) larger than LinkedIn."

Gmail is not integrated into gplus.google.com, so the numbers does not include gmail.

gmail was already larger than linked in, and google can just flip a switch to "join" gmail users to google plus. How is this metric not BS?

Morten Myrstad: Google's Meat Loaf doppelgänger.

Which means?

And it's still unavailable on Windows Phone...

I guess, the title was moderated again.

Only 158 million of Facebook's 800x million users visit in any given month?

This is only US data, not global.

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