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Google+ Crosses 25 Million Users - Will They Stay?
Google+ Crosses 25 Million Users - Will They Stay?
By: Anish Sadanandan

Google+ has been creating quite the buzz. The rate at which Google+ took off is quite astounding. One could maybe give credit to this incredible increase in the number of unique users to the hype that was created since quite some time. Google had slowly but surely started working on a social network which was touted to be true competition for Facebook, unlike Orkut or Hi5. The rate at which Google has been picking up users is more than what Facebook did during its nascent stages. However, one has to keep in mind that Facebook had limited itself to only colleges while Google+ started off with “select” invites which was very soon open to all. Now, just over a month after Google+ was launched, it has amassed over 25 million users.


Google’s slow build up for Google+

Google has been trying to dip its feet into the social networking pool for a while now. Below are a list of companies Google acquired towards these efforts:

Zingku – Social Networking Service (September 2007)

Jaiku – Micro-blogging (October 2007)

Aardvark­ – Social Search (February 2010)

Slide – Social Gaming (August 2010)

Jambool – Social Gold Payment (August 2010)

Angstro – Social Networking Service (August 2010)

SocialDeck – Social Gaming (August 2010)

Fflick – Social Network Service (January 2011)

Apart from these, Google also had Orkut of course. As you can see, since 2010, Google has been very active in acquiring companies that are related to social networking in one way or the other and this created a buzz (no pun intended), regarding Google’s new social platform. This buzz may be the major reason why Google+ has seen a surge of users since it was launched.

Check the red line in the image below:


 

Retention is harder than acquisition

Google+ has acquired 25 million users in just over a month which is quite commendable. However, social networks of the past would advice Google+ that retaining a user is much harder than getting them on board. Facebook has been successful to stay on top of the social networking world for so long as they have constantly kept the user engaged with constant innovations. In the end, constant evolution is the key. So what is Google doing to retain their users?

Google+ improves Circles


An active Google+ user, if such a person exists, would know that Google+ circles have been quite a pain to handle. The Circle you use the most may end up at the bottom of your Circle list making it a bit annoying. Now Google has revamped Circles. You now have the ability to drag and drop your Circles into the position you want it to show up on your list. One problem solved.

Now watch YouTube live on Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts allowed users to video chat. However, now the social network is giving a group of up to 10 people to watch live streaming videos from YouTube live together. This is gives many users the ability to watch maybe a game together without actually having to be physically present at the same place. Also, YouTube is also planning to add features to support Google+. For example, when a user watches a live stream on YouTube live, he may see his friends who are watching the same stream through Hangouts and would give him the option to join the group.


Google+ for iOS

Android and mobile web users can already access Google+, however the social network has still not penetrated the iPhone and iPad market. Facebook increased its users, and its popularity thanks to penetration into mobile devices. So much so, that new phones are being marketed using its Facebook capabilities. Google+ does not want to lose out on this market and already has an iOS application up for approval.


Is Mr. Zuckerberg worried?

With Google+ doing everything possible to eat into Facebook’s market, is Mark Zuckerberg worried? Well it is either that, or the curiosity for the new network, that has him on Google’s social network. He is his usual cool self on the network with his introduction stating, “I make things”.



Google+ definitely seems to have the upper hand thanks to security concerns on Facebook. However, once thing to note is that many Google+ users are not actually active. They just have an account but don’t really do anything on it, like yours truly. Do you think Google+ will catch up to Facebook?