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Google+ Growth Accelerating. Passes 62 million users. Adding 625,000 new users per day. Prediction: 400 million users by end of 2012.

Google+ is adding new users at a very rapid pace. It may be the holidays, the TV commercials, the Android 4 signups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouth, or a combination of all these factors, but there is no question that the number of new users signing up for Google+ each day has accelerated markedly in the past several weeks.

Each week my team from elance runs hundreds of queries on various surnames which we have been tracking since July. We revised our model based on the actual user announcements made by Google on July 13th and Oct 13th.

Here is what the tracking shows so far:

July 13 - 10 million
August 1 - 20.5 million
September 1 - 24.7 million
October 1 - 38 million (Larry Page announced "more than 40m users" on Oct 13th)
November 1 - 43 million
December 1 - 50 million
December 27 - 62 million
January 1 - 65.8 million (forecast)
February 1 - 85.2 million (forecast)

What is really remarkable is that nearly 1/4th of all Google+ users (24.01% to be precise) will have joined in December alone.

If this rate of new signups (625k daily) continues then Google+ will reach 100 million users on Feb. 25th and 200 million users on August 3. They will finish 2012 with 293 million users.

I expect the growth to continue to accelerate however. Google can continue to integrate Google+ into its other products and word of mouth will continue to build. Most importantly, 700,000 Android devices are activated daily and this will become a very significant source of new users for Google+. That number will also grow next year.

As more users sign up, the value of the network will increase for everyone. The network effect will become powerful. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect

It won't be long before new users start encountering family and friends as well as the thriving tech and media sharing community that embraced Google+ early on.

And as more Google+ APIs are released next year, developers will be able to build experiences on top of Google+ and make it even better.

Based on the accelerated growth I'm seeing and all the dials and levers Google can still utilize, and the developer ecosystem that will be developed, I predict that 2012 is going to be a breakout year for Google+ and that it will end next year with more than 400 million users.
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153 comments
 
Good grief but it's about time the negative reviews stopped pouring in. Now perhaps everyone else will know what the rest of us have known from the beginning. It takes some people a long time to wake up!
 
Would love to see data on active/engaged users since the Android on boarding experience with 4.0 makes it so easy to signup with G+.
 
I hope you're right Paul ! 400 Million seems high though but we'll see (I mean it'd would half-facebook in one year + 6 months, that would be crazy)
 
+Juan Valencia Most of the 337 surnames I am using are much more common outside the U.S. than they are in the U.S. However, if Google+ gets huge growth in a few countries where my surnames aren't representative (such as India or the Philippines), then my numbers could be too low. I have also seen higher numbers elsewhere, such as the 150 million number last week, but it seems nothing more than a wild guess to me.
 
One of the most exciting numbers I am tracking is around photos. Google+ users upload 5x more photos per day than Facebook users (perhaps because of Android instant upload). Google+ will be hosting about 10 billion photos by mid-January.
 
Growth is definitely accelerating but so are the problems that cripple the other social network.
 
+Yvan Da Silva absolutely. But they want to make it right so it's going to come step by step to not turn it into a twitter where everyone sends update automatically...
 
by the way I think G+ will allow pseudonyms and the 13-18 years old crowd in 2012 (Bradley promised it but didn't say when) so the growth will be huge !
 
+Paul Allen
I wonder how this will affect the number of Gmail users. Will using Google+ encourage more people to switch to Gmail from other email? A quick Google search gave me

http://www.email-marketing-reports.com/metrics/email-statistics.htm

which shows Gmail in third place globally. The numbers shown for Gmail are 193 million at the end of 2010. If the growth in Google+ affects Gmail usership as well, Gmail may well be on it's way to ousting Hotmail and Yahoo from their email dominance.
 
I have noticed a subtle shift in the content / quality / construction of many posts as well. The ratio of well thought out and insightful posts is down. Still present, and helped by keeping my circles appropriate clipped and curated - but some people don't seem to be focusing as much on clear commentary and value-add when sharing content. This does suggest that the user base is either expanding (and our "quality contributor" ratio is dropping), people are getting a bit burnt out, or they are using it more like twitter than in the beginning.
 
Very interesting prediction! Another source of growth is clearly that G+ is now available for Google Apps. The company I work for use Google Apps and has around 3000 employees. A few weeks ago our admin turned G+ on for all employees. Employees have to sign up for G+ by themselves, but everyone are aware that G+ is available and it is definitely catching on among my colleagues
 
+David Moore I'm interested in your comment because I, too, see a quality/quantity issue in front of us now, but what I am seeing is that those users who are serious about G+ as a medium of communication are actually ramping up their quality and for them it just gets better and better. Perhaps also more and more challenging to control their streams but for those to whom I look for quality it hasn't changed. While perhaps for others who are new it has been something different from the beginning. It think it's growing pains of a sort...
 
One thing that helps keeping new users active is surely the fact that you are bound to get more followers and more interaction in general than you ever expected, if you create a decent profile and post reasonably regularly
 
I reckon you are on the money there +Paul Allen , when I first received my invite in July was was so impressed with the platform. What hindered me using +Google+ was that my networks and friends had not migrated to it, so I held off. In the last couple of months the concept of sharing information and collaboration with people I have not personally met has now become a habit and a truly enriching experience.
 
I said the exact opposite today about Google+ today. http://bit.ly/t4nxJc I predict growth will slow and stagnate in 2012. The #1 reason? Friends and Family will choose to stick with what they know (Facebook) rather than switch for incremental benefit. Google+ will need more than Circles to attract everyday users from Facebook.
 
Nice work as usual, +Paul Allen; I always look forward to reading your updates. My gut feeling is that Google+ is really starting to take off. I always believed it would; but it's nice to see it happening so the negative spin that certain media outlets have put on the service can finally stop!
 
I never had more than 180 friends on Facebook. I will reach 18.000 followers on G+ in the next few days
 
+Yvan Da Silva Spot on! Most of my "friends" on Facebook were colleagues who I never exchanged anything at all with
 
Very interesting observation +Giselle Minoli - I'll open my eyes a little wider next time. It was mostly a passing observation that hit me last night as I was reviewing posts. Gotta love data - Perhaps I can find some way of pulling down a subset of posts to evaluate differences. I know there is a while paper out there suggesting algorithmic ways of evaluating the quality (and potential bogus nature) of products... I wonder if it could be tweaked to take a look at G+ posts and associated comment streams.
 
+Jannik Lindquist Worse than you. For me, they were friends from my business school promotion. And those who interacted with me the most were those I used to avoid. Never read such inept comments.
 
I love my colleagues - but I don't need to hang out on Facebook with them :-)
 
Thanks for the analysis. It is critical that G+ achieves a critical mass. If it does, then I can see the growth really take off.
 
Can you explain the spike around 19-20 Sep?
 
+James Tan Sure. That's when Google+ opened up to the public. Plus, they had a blue arrow on their home page for a day or two pointing people to the +You, where people could sign up for Google+.
 
+Benjamin Graner I do spot checks occasionally on usage, but I can only see how filled out profiles are, how many people are adding to circles, and how many public posts there are. I can't track private posts, hangouts, daily visits, etc. I'll try to post on usage in the next few days.
 
A lot of clever comments, so let me be the one to lower the general quality of the comments: I like the fact that you use Excel to visualize the data, and that you didn't even edit or removed the Series1-tag.
 
That's a bold bold prediction. 400 million users is big! Good for the the platform though
 
+Chris Brogan mentioned the other day there were 150 million users. Huge discrepancy in estimates there....?
 
Really? Hockey stick growth by banking on the Netrowk effect? That's very amateur. Have you heard of diminishing returns? Just as likely.
Chan Li
 
wow ! that's huge !
 
I actually think they could hit higher than that but time will tell!
 
Awesome Growth! But what else would you expect? Google is Awesome!
 
Hedef Facebook'dana daha çok eklenti ve paylaşım sunmak.Zaten arayış içiersine girdi.Kaliteyi bozmaya başladı.Çok şeyler yapmak kaliteden ODÜN verecekse, hiçbirşey yapmaması dah iyidir.Teşekkürler Google ....400 az hedef 800 olmalı
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Incredible! Facebook could be over with in 2013 and it will just be G+ :)
Looking forward to 2012!! (Google says they have lots planned too)
 
What do you think this means for Facebook going on the stock market in mid 2012?
 
I don't think Facebook will fall by the wayside. I honestly think that Google+ will catch up to Facebook and it will be a constant fight to see who can out do the other.
 
+Stanford Smith I think there has been a tremendous shift in what's important in people's lives since FB began. Back then kids were in school and it was easier to get and keep a job. The economy wasn't in the mess it was in now. College kids were on FB and then it migrated to families and friends in general because life was a lot lighter than it is now. But this has all changed. Those same people who only communicated on FB are now looking to connect in a much deeper, broader and more meaningful way. And life is not only about friends and family. People are turning to G+ as a creative, intellectual and entrepreneurial outlet, something that FB has never offered in the same way.

And I agree with +Jannik Lindquist...people on G+ are much, much, more open to the unknown. It is far easier to expand one's Greater Circle of Life on G+ than on FB. There's no comparison.
 
After some initial hiccups, I have come to understand that Google Plus is the best platform for me to build an open community around my book because anyone can add my page without seeking my consent - this is like twitter, and I can add anyone, without seeking his or her approval. Secondly, the layout is superb. Finally, yes, the circles are an amazing concept.
 
Google+ would be even more popular if it provided an API for apps like games!
 
+Paul Allen The search commands
: site:plus.google.com -inurl:about and
: site:plus.google.com -inurl:posts -inurl:about
shows 163 million users and 84.7 million profiles with at least one post
The GlobalWebIndex also claims to have about 150 million Google+ active users. We know that their statistics about Facebook, Sina, LinkedIn and Twitter is close to other statistics that we see from other sources; then why we can't accept these figures. Please don't forget that it is difficult to get the statistics about Chinese, Korean and Japanese language names.
In addition +Bradley Horowitz in a live hangout has hinted that upcoming announcements about G+ user growth will shock everybody. Also +Max Huijgen estimates suggests that there really are 145 million registered users on G+.
https://plus.google.com/u/1/112352920206354603958/posts/MdKHYcTFe1E
 
That spike in Sept. 2011 is surely related to FB rolling out the most recent change in the news feed, which pretty much everyone hated. Prior to that, growth at G+ had slowed considerably, but has accelerated since.
 
I want to say they will provide an API, like other sites & social networking, and they may. But we all know, sadly, that Google takes awhile to get things rolling.
 
Many of my friends log in, but never post, they just don't see the difference between this and Facebook. "There's no one there, why bother?" is the most common answer since ALL of their friends aren't here. Typical.
 
+Darren Bounds , +Paul Allen interesting to have a closer look at the technical advantage Google has (Android). So you mentioned at least two: (1) easy sign up for Google+ via Android 4 and (2) photo upload made easy: Android instant upload -- Facebook won't have the chance to introduce an operating systen on their own, neither do they have the contracts with mobile device manufacturers as Google has. It would be interesting to see, when Google will be #1 passing Facebook
 
Happy to see the shape of the graph turning to exponential. This would clearly point to the network effect - which was referred to in the article. +Paul Allen have you used Bass model? It differentiates those who "invent" new things and are affected by outside marketing - from those who come when their peers recommend or invite them causing peer-pressure. The former group and marketing efforts cause bumps like the graph shows Google+ early growth, but the latter group creates exponential growth. Here is link to the model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_diffusion_model
 
"I predict that . . . Google+ . . . will end next year with more than 400 million users."

A risky and falsifiable prediction. Very commendable! This type of prediction takes not only some know-how, but also the willingness to be specific, take a risk, and be proven wrong. This is the type of prediction that tech pundits ought to make more often.

Here, for contrast, is a typical wishy-washy prediction from TechCrunch: "No one knows what the future holds, but I can guarantee you the world will look be different – again – at the end of next year."
 
+Giselle Minoli I posted about that this morning. I think there will be a segmentation. To make it shor : socially active people on Google+, passive one plus kids on Facebook plus young using it a a messaging systemand a second rate social network
Peter N
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err... "users" or registered users?
 
Regarding the surnames I have done some analysis in other alphabets as well and found at least 25% didn´t even have a name in the classic A-Z range. So add a large number to +Paul Allen ´s analysis. After doing that research I also ´tricked´ google search in providing me with profiles with at least one post (could be thousands can´t see that) and I´m at 80 millon that way. This is in harmony with the 25% more I predicted based on using other alphabets. Add the profiles which are not used and you exceed the 100 million. I found a staggering 160 million profiles, but check the full analysis here
https://plus.google.com/u/1/112352920206354603958/posts/MdKHYcTFe1E
 
Another unanticipated area of growth in my region is student populations. While Facebook is blocked in our school systems on computer networks, Google is not. That includes Google+. Since wifi and laptops are required at the high school level, this has meant a surge in G+ use by our student populations. As they head off to college, and new students enter, that should increase the viral spread of the network with the younger generation of Internet users.
 
60millions is a lot more believable than the 150million estimate that came out a few days ago.

But the 400million guess seems a huge stretch to me, because that would be cutting into the meat of the FB crowd, and there is only so much time for social in one's life.

Who knows, though as G continues to make G+ integrated into everything Google 400 might happen!
 
+MaryAnn Pfeiffer Interesting argument MaryAnn. So I have something to add to Google+'s competitive advantage list: (1) Android fast sign-up for Google+ (2) Android's instant photo upload (3) Android's reach as contributing factor to "1" and "2" and (4) Access limits (Facebook maybe blocked) - your argument. That's probably true for many companies as well.
 
+Steffen Konrath I tend to work with smaller businesses who utilize Facebook for marketing, but I do know a handful (in Accounting and financial sectors where data is sensitive) who do block Facebook internally, so I would guess that it is not limited to student populations. The student aspect just surprised me (not sure why, kids are pretty creative at getting around parental blocking), as I never expected that entire school systems could be overrun with G+ users under 18.
 
+Jeff Wolfers Agreed that the time for social is limited, but don't you think that the introduction of business pages will bring in more corporate attention? When companies spend their time investing in the social media, the viral nature spreads throughout the organization. While it's not an exponential area of growth, it's a significant contributor. While this may not cut into Facebook time, it could feasibly cut into time on professional social networks (LinkedIn). If I can find my experts, my answers and my next business contact in the same network where I have my docs, calendar and mail, why wouldn't I?
 
+MaryAnn Pfeiffer You make good points.... The brand page integration could take G+ to a whole new level.

But.... I'm not a great one to opine on this development because I like separate social networks for different 'circles': Friends and Family = FB, professional life = LI, People I don't know but can learn from and are interesting = G+. My news feed / stream = Twitter I like the segregation. Keeps me in control at some level.

But now that FB does 'subscriptions', and G+ does business, it's all jumbled up and my orderly view of the social space is most confused!
 
+Jeff Wolfers I applaud your efforts at trying to keep some semblance of order and organization to your social media! For me, I accepted a long time ago that social media is what brings my worlds crashing together, rather than segmented from each other. Social media was created by a different generation with a different set of ideals. Let the worlds collide, you never know what magic might happen. And for me, tough as it has been to readjust to that, I have to say, it has been for the better.
 
+MaryAnn Pfeiffer But I really don't want my colleagues to have sight of my family life (and vice versa), so I swim against the tide again (sigh).
 
+MaryAnn Pfeiffer When my friends and family and colleagues do finally show up here (mostly still not here) I will use circles to the max!
 
+Paul Allen - Does this growth consider the potential of a new social network challenger? For example, we could see X-Box Live become a hot social network online, if Microsoft wanted to compete here. Would that impact your prediction?
 
+Paul Allen : greetings. :)
Glad to have your estimates. :)
Since you have refined after larry's announcement, i'm sure this model is not overestimating the numbers. ;)
but this huge influx is possibly due to a number of events. so i'm not exactly sure if the same growth is going to happen.
ofcourse, google may announce even more features to boost g+. we will have to wait and see. ;)
regardless i appreciate your(& your team's) work on getting the numbers.
Also India(having different surnames) is supposedly having the 2nd most registered users, so the numbers might be quite higher. ;)

also buzz was shutdown , forcing people to jump into g+.

Would be great to have your info on the pic uploads. :)

1. Anyone has a direct link to comscore announcement of 67 million?
Since it is not counting mobile visits and other google properties, the actual value could easily be near 75 million.

2. +Giselle Minoli : yeah, the huge negative press is really tiresome. but i suspect it is being carried out on purpose.
quite desperate to put g+ down. ;)

3. As +Jannik Lindquist noted , g+ for google apps is quite helping. :)

4. +Stanford Smith : g+ is not an incremental update. It is huge shift and if done well, as mike elgan stated, it will be a super product and will be the new google. Plus the g+ team is just starting with adding features.
I'm thinking of a g+ drive will be a huge thing instead of dropbox. ;) but thats just me. :)

5. +Terrence Lui : what's the critical mass you're looking at? is there an actual number for social networks?
again, g+ is more than a mere social network. ;)

6. Regarding active users , i'd say atleast 25 to 35%. but we wont know for sure till google decides to let us know. :)
 
+Paul Allen On december 23 I made a simple query on www.google.com querying for

site:plus.google.com -inurl:posts -inurl:about this gave a count of: 68.600.000 ( I know that this contains still pages like settings and pages but I find it a pretty good approximation)

My post about it here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329698645326486178/posts/TyiBZS5RDz3

Here's an earlier post from 27 september, which gave: 44 mio users at that time and an increase of 600.000 per day:
https://plus.google.com/100329698645326486178/posts/93PXVu3Pwxr
 
Süper süper.devam edelim böyle :)
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is there a graph indicating how many people are annoyed by FB?
 
Paul Allen has been very accurate in his predictions so far. I wonder if he is right this time. It will be nice to see more friends and family on the network.
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Fcebook + Google + Süper güçler.Ancak bu uygulamaya Google çok geç başladı.Dikkat edilecek olursa Google aradaki farkı çok kısa zamnada kapadı.Ekibi güzel.Ancak uygulamalarda halen çok yapılması gerekenler var.Şu ana kadar yapılanlar zaten olması gerekenlerdi.Bizi şaşırtacak çok daha gelişmiş uygulamaların kokusunu alıyorum.Google bir işi netleştirmeden beta aşamasında kimseye bahsetmez ve önermez.Ancak lab.kullanıcıları istekli kullanabiliyorlar.Bu da doğrusu.Kısa zamanda bayağı ilerleme kaydedildi.Bloglarda, dökümanlarda, geliştiricilerde reklam ağlarında vs.Ben şu anda küçük bir eksik daha görüyorum ve iletiyorum neden tweet paylaşımı yok.Şu anda Google iç dünyasında ve arama motorlarında görülüyor.Buradan paylaşım butonlarının siteden google + ya Google + dan sitelere de entekresi neden olmasın.Google + sayfamızdan sitelerimize neden editör yardımı ile yayın içeriği göndermeyelim.Bu alt yapı var.Olmaması için neden varmı acaba.
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My prediction is there probably be around 360 million users by the end of 2012

I liked the way u calculated..Nice work

Facebook will soon lose most of their active users just because their lack of customer service,Timeline refusal, and their default privacy.
 
Thank you for the information +Paul Allen do you have a write up anywhere on your methodology for collecting this data?
 
ACTIVE USERS????? HW MUCH???
 
Totally did not expect that actually. I am surprised by the accelerating growth. Most people who I'm connected to on it were early adopters like me. My other groups of friends have yet to discover it.
 
Obviously, the Google-search methods will only show the number of existing profiles - which isn't necessarily the same as the number of active users
 
I would like to see how many of these people are active.
 
well...google plus is doing much better than facebook...!!i mean facebook just got to the top just because there was no one else around to take over the social networking world....gplus will rise in about 2 years ...bank on it..!!!!!!!
 
400 million could work. If +Google+ adds events to its repertoire with maybe #GoogleCalendar integration they could see even faster acceleration. Events in my opinion is really the only standout feature that #Facebook has over +Google+.
 
I think Google+ can easily reach 400 million by the end of 2012. They have so much firepower that they have not released yet. They are just starting to integrate Google+ into search. They can do a lot more with that. When you start to see all of your friends thumbnail pics show up in your search results you will want to join in the fun!
 
+Buddy Scalera I find it hard to believe that XBox could be a real challenger b/c it requires hardware that is not common to all homes, and is not a business tool.

As for MSFT, if they can't get a search engine right, I really don't think they have what it takes to get into the social media space successfully. Google+'s greatest asset in growth and user acquisition is the integration with search... while MSFT might have the skills to develop competing features, they will never have that, which will always make them a lesser competitor.
 
Seldom has linearity been the trend for anything of size on the www. Either outsize success or some form of failure. After a couple of "it ain't worth my time" efforts (Buzz, Wave), THIS one (Plus) matters to me - and I'm not one who likes a lot of new things. I'll bet on the 400 Million beign pretty close to right.
 
over/under 3 years G+ surpasses fb's user count?
 
+Cameron Powe Just the boldness of the statement followed by the parenthetical maybe made me laugh. Just struck me is all...
 
i cant wait to tell every one about this. if anybody is a coder i am looking for one please reply to me if you are interested.
 
I remember transitioning from myspace to facebook; it was because facebook connected me specifically with my college peers, whereas myspace was everybody; plus it was more standardized than myspace's random xynga-like html coding. What's so revolutionary about Google+ that will cause it to upset facebook?
 
These numbers are estimated and very pro g+ numbers... Lets wait for the Google announcements....
 
Αγαπώ you google!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
+Risto Linturi I'm not sure this can be correlated to network effects. I personally believe Android activations are driving a lot of this growth and while that's good for #s, unless they engage, they're pretty meaningless.
 
Growth is there but little engagement. Need to have more apps to be really useful and spend time on g+
 
This is great stuff, Paul, thanks. Do you have metrics on interaction? I.E., how many people share links, comment on them, or even just +1 them? To me that's more meaningful than just raw users.
 
To me, the API roll out is key - I think they would have seen much more success already if that had been released.
 
this marks the end of facebook!!! i never knew that there is a david who will defeat goliath!!!
 
Does anyone have any ideas on how to leverage this for income?
 
Looks like Google is 20 days ahead of +Paul Allen's forecast. Not bad. Any updates on when it would no pass 400 million? I am thinking we may see another doubling of users this quarter before this breakneck pace slows down, at least in percentage terms.
 
i have been with google since the beginning and i love it i support the google + movement
 
This is a great little article. Let's see how the number pan out.
 
What a boatload of comments.
I'm at the ACE hotel in NYC and they've got Google Chromebooks all over the lobby. Hipsters are using them constantly. It's a deadly combination!
 
+Paul Allen, thanks for posting those. Have you had a chance to further look at usage? Average posts per day per user graphs for instance. Even just for public stuff it could be interesting.
 
+Benjamen Meiers I don't think Paul is going to update the stats anymore considered that now people like to have infos about engagement and not about g+ profiles (the above stats refer to g+ profiles). The only person that can give us some g+ engagement numbers seems to be Larry Page... Am I wrong +Paul Allen ?
 
+Paolo Antonacci I understand what you mean but people always talk about the amount of users of FaceBook. I feel it is a correct comparison to compare the users of Google+ to the users of Facebook. Considering only a fraction of the total user-base of Facebook logs in monthly, we could compare the two as i am assuming the same thing happens here.
 
+Benjamen Meiers Agree. I hope he will tell us something soon...
Furthermore, Facebook will be(... finally) forced to release engagement numbers once gone public
 
+Paul Allen I'd like to see a new prediction chart. My calculations put the Google+ User Count somewhere close to 200 million in the next week or so. I'd like to see what your models are showing.
 
I am having a trrific and frolicking time here on G+..googling away
 
Could have formatted that chart a bit better, tho.
 
Awesome. Any statistics on teenagers? I know that all the kids at my high school are on twitter 
 
Thanks for sharing this Paul. I wonder what the latest numbers are
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