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  (Source: tiptoptens.com)
About five million are from the United States

Google+ is a little over three weeks old now, and despite the social network's current invite-only testing phase, it has grown by leaps and bounds in its short time on the internet. In fact, Google+ just hit 20 million users.

ComScore, a Web-traffic watcher, has estimated that Google+ has had 20 million different visitors since the launch of the site. About five million of these users are from the United States.

ComScore uses a global measurement panel of two million internet users to develop its estimates.

"I've never seen anything grow this quickly," said Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore.

Google+, which launched June 28, 2011, is a social networking service that offers a range of features including "Circles," which allows users to organize contacts; "Hangouts," which is a video chat feature; "Huddle," a mobile feature for group instant messaging; "Sparks," a search engine for sharing mutual interests, and of course, the +1 feature, which Google+ users can use to say they agree with or like a topic.

Many wondered if Google+ would be a suitable rival for other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. For instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook is already established with 750 million users and that his site will not lose appeal to Google+'s features. In addition, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner questioned the purpose of Google+ when all the social network bases are already covered: Facebook for family and friends, LinkedIn for professionals, and Twitter for "microcasting" your thoughts.

But both rival CEO's may be eating their words as Google+ gains more and more users. With Google+ becoming so popular so quickly, Google could benefit in other areas through the use of social integration.

"Given positive initial traction from users, we believe Google is now better positioned to compete and integrate social cues across its products than before, which could drive increased relevancy in search going forward," said Barclays Capital equity researchers.


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Circles
By MozeeToby on 7/22/2011 11:00:05 AM , Rating: 3
As much as I hate throwing more of my personal information at Google, they really are on the right track with Google+. Circles are the way Social media should have been done from day 1. I don't need every person I've ever talked to to know that I'm going in for surgery next week, and I don't need my family to know I got hammered last night.

The only thing really missing is 'sub-circles', I'd like to have a "Close family" circle inside my "Family" circle. You can simulate that easily enough by just adding the close family members to both, but it would be easier to manage if the relationship were explicit.

The other features I'm less sure about. I guess Hangouts (basically poor man's video conferencing) would depend on how much you use video chat. I'm just not sure why Sparks are even part of Google+, they're more like an intelligent RSS reader than social media.




RE: Circles
By cjohnson2136 on 7/22/2011 11:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
maybe the reason they included sparks was so you had stuff to do on google+ in case you weren't talking to friends?


RE: Circles
By amanojaku on 7/22/2011 11:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
Missing games, too. But there's rumors about games coming to Google+.


RE: Circles
By bplewis24 on 7/22/2011 12:36:45 PM , Rating: 5
I think the main reason half of those 20M are on G+ is because there are no games yet.


RE: Circles
By jimbojimbo on 7/22/2011 1:08:00 PM , Rating: 3
Saves me time from having to mark every stupid game to ignore.


RE: Circles
By acer905 on 7/22/2011 1:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
Want games, get chrome, open a new tab, click the chrome web store. Get games. G+ doesn't need them, and its users don't want them.


RE: Circles
By BSquared on 7/22/2011 3:00:50 PM , Rating: 3
Circles is just a copy of friends lists which were available on Facebook for quite awhile, just a vast majority don't use 'em.

I use them because I can stick all those annoying people who use games onto one list, and ban them from posting on my wall. Then I can also individually ban specific groups, games or people, or blanket ban those types from my stream or wall. It's all there, people just seem to see it.


RE: Circles
By jimhsu on 7/22/2011 3:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
There's a difference between making a feature addition that's complicated to use that does X, and making feature X a core functionality of your app. Guess this is why people are gravitating towards Google+ right now.


RE: Circles
By Lazarus Dark on 7/23/2011 11:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
Did you ever test the Facebook groups? I did. I spent time to go through every privacy setting, then posted test posts and had friends and family sign on and see if they could see those test posts. There were times that they could see test posts I had not intended them to see, and sometimes parts of my profile I had intended to block from them. Now, I went back through the settings and double checked everything and I don't know what went wrong. The FB privacy settings are all patches on top of patches on top of patches and they don't work. In fact, all of FB is patched to hell and back.

G+ was built from the ground up for privacy, and my testing shows it works flawlessly so far. If FB really wants to compete, they need to start over from scratch and do a FB2.0 redesign from the ground up. Though, I'm already fully converted to G+, so its too late for me and millions of others. I told all my former FB friends, I will delete the FB profile 3 months after G+ goes open, whether they come to G+ or not.


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