How many millions of people are already using Google Plus?

Over the weekend, Google Plus briefly overloaded. Just how popular is Google's new social network already?
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Some people, like yours truly, already love Google Pus (G+). There are also a lot of people who desperately want to be on G+ but haven't managed it yet. Some people have suggested that Google has been creating G+ hype with an artificial shortage of G+ invites, that Google could let the world in if they wanted too. I disagree. After all, would Google have left G+ go briefly haywire over the weekend if they really had the resources to keep everyone happy? I don't think so!

On Saturday, Google started spamming G+ e-mail inboxes with a flood of email notifications. What happened? According to Vic Gundotra, Google Senior VP of Social, which includes overseeing G+:

For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes.

We didn't expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have.

Thank you for helping us during this field trial, and once again, we are very sorry for the spam.

That's a pretty mind-boggling admission. Google? Google!? Running out of disk space? Amazing!

So, how many users would it take to run G+ out of disk room anyway? It must have been a bunch, but, for now, we don't know how many uses G+ already has.

My friend Jason Hiner, better known to most of you as the editor-in-chief of TechRepublic, suggests, based on data collected by Mohamed Mansour, who created a tool to import Facebook friends information to Google, that G+ already had reached one million users. Not bad for a service that's not even two weeks old yet and is still in beta.

Actually, though, we now know thanks to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt that G+ has millions of users. How many millions?

Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com, a leading genealogy site, suggests, base on his research that G+ may already be closing in on 5-million users. By his preliminary calculations, Allen thinks in G+'s first full week the new social network is growing at a rate of 280%.

Perhaps the more interesting question though isn't how big G+ is now, it's "How big will G+ get?" On July 6th, Facebook claimed to have 750-million users. I wonder, I really do, if by this time next year G+ will have overtaken Facebook. I'm quite serious. G+ is that good.

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