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Archive for July 25th, 2011

Article from SFGate.

“Just three weeks after its launch, Google+ is off to a strong start.

Google Inc.’s latest attempt to break into social networking circles attracted more than 20 million visitors in its first 21 days, according to the Internet measurement service comScore Inc. And there is a report that Google+ now has 25 million members.

To be sure, those numbers still don’t place Google+ in the same league as the more established social media stars, especially the current king, Facebook Inc., which has 750 million active users.

But Facebook has made enough mistakes in the past to leave the window wide open for Google+, which is still in its experimental stages, to barge through and become a serious contender for the crown, said Sam Hamadeh, CEO and founder of a Privco, a New York firm that monitors private companies like Facebook.

Facebook may have a big lead now, but the two has-been kings of social networking – Friendster and Myspace – are reminders that there’s no such thing as invincibility in the world of technology.

“People used to be on Myspace chatting all day, updating their pages,” said Hamadeh. “And before that, people were on Friendster nonstop. Before you knew it, the winds had shifted and once the winds shift, they shift very quickly.”

Officially, Mountain View’s Google hasn’t issued any updated Google+ numbers beyond those that CEO Larry Page revealed during a July 14 earnings call – 10 million members, more than 1 billion items shared and received in one day and 2.3 billion clicks of the “+1 button,” Google’s answer to Facebook’s “Like” button.

‘Just the beginning’

“We’ve learned a tremendous amount having just gone to field trial three weeks ago,” Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president for social, said in a statement. “The team has been listening to users and moving really quickly to launch dozens of new features and updates to the product. We realize this is just the beginning. And while we’re thrilled with the reaction so far, we have a long, exciting road ahead of us.”

Hamadeh, citing sources inside Google, said the fledgling social network hit the milestone 25 million user mark Thursday night.

And Andrew Lipsman, a comScore vice president, said the 20 million visitors to Google+ in the first 21 days was “an extraordinary number.”

Of that total, 5.3 million were in the United States and 2.8 million in India. And people from the Bay Area and Austin, Texas, two of the most tech-savvy markets, were three times as likely to be on Google+, Lipsman said.

Right now, the main users are the tech-savvy crowd that is always at the forefront of new and emerging technology.

Of the total Google+ audience, 63 percent were men and 58 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34, comScore said.

“It has clearly captured the attention of the technorati and as usage incubates among this crowd it will likely continue to proliferate to a more general audience,” Lipsman wrote in a blog post.

High marks

That technorati has generally given Google+ high marks for its design and privacy protections, especially compared to Facebook. Analysts say Google+ can be compelling.

“My usage has subtly changed as more and more of my personal network joins, and I’m commenting as much privately as publicly,” said Charlene Li, founder of the Altimeter Group, a San Mateo technology research and consulting firm.

One major feature in Google+ is the ability to create specific, private groups, called “circles,” of friends or people being followed.

“Google+ has the advantage of not requiring that people be a member of the network in order to share with them. They just get updates via e-mail,” Li said in an e-mail. But whether Google+ becomes a hit with more mainstream audiences is still a question.”

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