By KJ Mason.
When Google launched its social networking service, Google Plus, during the summer of 2011, tens of millions of people clamoured to sign up for an account.
But within months, critics had panned the new service, pointing to user pages bereft of meaningful content and exchanges. They said the new social site just wasn’t, well, social. It seemed as though Facebook had cornered the market — Google was too late to the party.
Perhaps not. According to data released this week by Internet analytics firm GlobalWebIndex, Google Plus is racking up large numbers of new users and continues to outpace Twitter as the world’s number two social network, behind perennial titan Facebook.
The reasons behind Google Plus’s growth — it now can boast 359 million active users, up 33 percent from 269 million users at the end of June 2012, according to GlobalWebIndex — are complex and tied to Google’s effort to build a connecting layer across all its services, including search, YouTube, maps and other products. Log into one, and you’ve logged into the lot.
Google itself is tight-lipped about its numbers. Its last released figures were in December, when the search giant said 500 million people had created Google Plus accounts.