Google+ moves up to second place in social networks

Google+ moves up to second place in social networks

Summary: Facebook still has a massive lead, but Google+, with 343-million active users, is now the second most popular social network.


Last year, many people dismissed Google's Google+ social network as a "virtual ghost town." That was then. This is now. According to GlobalWebIndex, Google+, with 343-million active users, has become the second largest social network globally. As Vic Gundotra, Google's senior VP of engineering, observed, "That is a lot of ghosts"

Facebook is still the top social network, but Google+ has moved into second place. (Credit: GlobalWebIndex)

Facebook is still the biggest of the social networks by a large margin. By GlobalWebIndex's count Facebook has almost 700-million active users. The research group defines active users as those who used or contributed to a site in the past month

All three of the major global social networks, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are growing by leaps and bounds. "Data collected in GWI.8 (Q4 2012) demonstrates the continued shift in usage from localized social platforms to global ones with huge growth for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. The fastest growing network in 2013 in terms of “Active Usage” was Twitter which grew 40% to 288m across our 31 markets (approximately 90% of global Internet population). 21% of the global Internet population now use Twitter actively on a monthly basis. This compares to 21% actively using YouTube, 25% actively using Google+ and a staggering 51% using Facebook on a monthly basis."

Say hello to the new look of Google Plus (screenshots)

Even with Twitter's growth, however, "Google+, who despite being branded a failure or ghost town by large portions of the media, grew in terms of active usage by 27% to 343m users to become the number 2 social platform. Interestingly for Google, YouTube (not previously tracked by us as a social platform) comes in at number 3, demonstrating the immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer. This is also a key indication of why Google+ integrated with the Google product set is so key to the future of search and the Internet."

Indeed so, I've long thought that Google's integration of Google Plus into many of its services would lead to massive growth. But, just because people using Google services such as Gmail or YouTube got a Google+ membership didn't mean they'd actually use the service. So, what I find more interesting is that GlobalWebIndex's data indicates that Google+s' members are actively using the social network rather than just their attached Google services.

Mind you, I don't find this much of a surprise. I'm a member of most of the popular social networks and Google+ is easily my favorite of them.

Where is Google+'s growth coming from? It's not at the expense of Facebook or Twitter. Instead, like them, Google+ is cannibalizing smaller, local social networks. "The growth in the large, global social platforms is coming broadly at the expense of local services like MeinVz, Hyves, Copains d’Avant. Even more interestingly, we are seeing a large decline across the board in local Chinese services with Tencent Weibo, Kaixin, Sina Weibo and QZone all declining substantially, up to 57% in the case of Tencent Weibo."

Looking ahead, it appears that the global networks, led by Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube, will all continue to grow at the expense of the local social networks. Will Google+ eventually catch-up and pass Facebook? Possibly, but it won't be soon. Even with privacy concerns and annoying notifications, Facebook is continuing to maintain its dominant position.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Google, Networking

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  • Interesting, why there are no India-only social networks?

    They have 1bn population as well as China
    • Simple answer ...

      Because they are too busy working for a living and don't have time to waste hanging around in anti-social websites.
      • Completely false

        Indians are among the heaviest users of Social Media
        Marcello Mari
      • Social network = fool asylum

        I mark all the emails from Facebook, G+, LindedIn and so on as spam. Just another round of typical Silicon Valley scam that won't go anywhere.
        • Agreed

          I am also above the social media hype. I limit myself to reading articles about it on the internet and commenting on them anonymously for others to read.
        • Are you a troll?

          You're right, social media isn't going anywhere................................
    • Simple

      India is a modern, westernised, democratic society. They don't have censorship like China, where the popular western services are blocked so local ones replace them, so they use the same services we do.
      • So...

        Facebook ad clients should realize that when they pay for ads, ads are mostly shown not to western people with purchase power but to poor indians who cant buy anything.
        • You can specify..

          ...which country or even city want your ads to display. So no you won't be showing them unintentionally to India.
        • Location awareness

          FB still mostly serves ads for business and services in the Philippines even though it's been a year since I was last there. just because the average user doesn't have as much disposible income as Western users doesn't mean they don't consume anything at all (just see how crowded the very Western shopping malls are). They sell a lot of the same things there (or cheaper imitations). Prices are generally less because the biggest overhead cost: labor; is dirt cheap there and adds a fraction to the retail price of items than for the same thing in the US.
      • On second thought

        You mention democracy as if there is something progressive, regime-threatening in the essence of social network. I'd say its rather the opposite - online vanity fair that makes people obsessed with their e-looks is something that makes masses completely un-threateting to whatever authority there is.
    • The answer is really simple

      Most Indians use English as a language for business and online communication. For many years I have found them inviting me to Orkut but now I see invitations from folks in India on Facebook and some on Google Plus.

      So, the numbers you see for Facebook and Google Plus includes India as well.
    • Local Social Networks

      Social Networking is a big domain and there are several companies targeting various niche/verticals. I am not surprised that YouTube is also a significant player in the domain. We at Mixinity (just launched Beta, are an INTEREST based LOCAL social network to help connect with like minded people and groups around you and facilitate offline hangouts/Mixers.
  • Of course Google's numbers are up

    They require Google+ accounts with any Google account. I unfortunately have three accounts, my personal account, my government work account, and my company account. Also the number of YouTube accounts are also Google+ accounts. I don't see anything about what active usage is, but since Google made everyone part of Google+, just using Gmail is probably considered active Google+ usage.
    • Also, how do they know that this is users who are not

      also on twitter and Facebook. I have accounts on both, which I use regularly, as well as LinkedIn.
      • Good news, everyone

        You can delete your Google Plus account without deleting your Google account.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Absolutely true

          I love Gmail, but I am indifferent to Google+.
      • Different opinion

        I have both G+ and Facebook acconts. I am not active in neither. I get half a dozen spam emails from Facebook every day but not from G+. From my experience people may active Facebook user when I am not.
        Van Der
        • I get spammed on a continuous basis from Google+

          But I don't have a Google+ account. I get pleading and begging from G+ 2-3 times a day to join it all from various people with GMail accounts. G+ is always telling me of the wonderful things I am missing out on because I don't have a G+ account. I get weekly updates from my unmaintained Facebook account.
    • The only problem with your claim...

      He said, Active Users! Not people who got the profile by default and then did nothing with it.