Watch out Facebook, Google+ is now the world’s second largest social network and it’s growing fast!

Alex Masters

google plus arrows final 300x225 Watch out Facebook, Google+ is now the world’s second largest social network and it’s growing fast!The latest figures from the Global Web Index now track Google+ as the second largest social network in the world, with an estimated 343 million monthly active users. Closely trailing Google+ is Google’s own YouTube in third place, followed by Twitter in fourth. All three are trailing Facebook by a significant margin, but Google+ is gaining ground and doing so fast.

We all know that Facebook is the undeniable king of the social web but Google is catching up and it’s doing so at an astonishing rate. It took Facebook almost six years to reach 300 million active monthly users, a milestone that Google+ has sailed past in under 18 months. With a population of 343 million, the bustling streets of Google’s ‘ghost town’ are far from empty.

As the search giant continues to integrate Google+ functionality into every facet of its company, it’s clear that Google’s social network has the potential to match and even exceed Facebook’s achievements. Provided its unprecedented growth remains steady.

I use both Facebook and Google+ on a regular basis and have noticed some interesting things about each network’s users. The majority of Facebook users I speak to dislike the service’s  overall design, many find themselves frustrated by privacy related issues on a regular basis and almost all of them dislike the advertisements littering the mobile and desktop Facebook experiences.

On the flip side, almost every Google+ user I have ever interacted with talks positively about the platform’s design. I can’t remember a single user complaining about privacy related issues on Google+ either. Then there is the complete lack of advertising on the platform. This is due to the fact that Google can finance its network using profits from other ad-supported services, such as web search, YouTube and the Google Play store.

On the whole, most people seem to gravitate towards Facebook because a majority of their friends use it, despite the fact that they don’t particularly like the design, features or the changes forced upon them. This critical mass keeps the service alive and helps Facebook maintain its relatively slow but steady growth.

This is where I believe Google+ has the potential to outgrow Facebook. Facebook users predominantly use the service to interact with their friends. Everything revolves around the people you already know in the physical world. Google+ users on the other hand, tend to interact with people they don’t know. There are some exceptions of course, but generally, real world connections appear to be in the minority on Google+ when you look at an average user’s circles.

I find that my Facebook friends list shrinks more and more each month whereas my Google+ circles tend to grow and grow on an almost daily basis. I struggle to see how my Facebook social graph could grow over the coming years. Especially if more and more of my friends continue to join me on Google+.

The more time I spend on Facebook, the more I realise how little I get out of it. Meanwhile on Google+ every visit is an interesting one. I continue to return multiple times a day, thanks to a constant and varied stream of engaging content from other users with similar interests to me.

You can follow me on Google+ here. No, I insist the more the merrier!

How do your experiences compare to the observations above? Do you find yourself using Facebook more or less than you used to? Have you tried Google+? and if so, how do you feel about its direction and rate of growth?

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  • Marc Razia

    Actually according to the data, the numbers being referenced specifically refer to users that access the main Google+ feed at least once per month. G+ has much higher total numbers (500 million+ from last months reports) which account for what you describe.

  • Shiraz Siddiqui

    if you’re using Chrome download the official +1 button extension :-D

  • Bhugtaan Pragyaware

    Yes i 100% agree with your words.Facebook and Google+ becomes famous day by
    day.I also use facebook and google + app on my android phone.Recently i came across an application that is very inserting and helpful also.Its name is bhugtaan
    Mobile and dth Recharge App
    .This app is available in every app
    store.I like it very much.You must try this
    app also.

  • captain_planet

    The Youtube stats are slightly dubious as well. As a website
    I believe they do get a massive amount of traffic, more than Twitter but as a
    social network you can’t say it is bigger. I have a Google account and
    therefore a Youtube one, I NEVER use Youtube as a social network and interact
    but I do look at it a lot as do the majority of users, many of whom now have accounts
    but never comment or even realise they are logged in.

    As for G+ many people have signed up because it is an extra option now in your
    Gmail account. The figure may say how many people go once a month which FB may
    use, but out of the people who are counted maybe 90% of the facebook ones go lots
    of times, whereas only a small % of G+ people visit more than once. You can say
    anything with stats

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