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As if the news out of Google couldn't get any hotter today, the company decided to just casually announce that it has over 500 million users with Google+ accounts, 235 million of whom are active "across Google" which means anything from +1ing things in various Google products to "connecting with friends in Search"...whatever that means. The most important stat, though, is 135 million users are active in the stream. That means, if we can assume past definitions are still true, those users either visit plus.google.com or use the mobile app to view content.

In other words, it's time to stop pretending that Google+ is a ghost town. Yes, Google has reasons to tout its numbers in the best possible light, but these numbers are constantly going up (indicating growth) and they're of such a huge level that it's getting difficult to ignore. For example, if you were to head to Twitter's landing page for businesses, the company will be happy to tell you that it has over 140m active users. 140 million! That's great! And only 5 million more than Google+ users who actively visit the stream. To say nothing of the rest of Google's products that are being tied in, encouraging more usage.

Communities, launched today, is just one more way people will end up using Google+.

That 500 million upgraded user count means something, too. While there are over 300 million people who have created an account and yet according to Google's own admission aren't active, that still leaves the data giant with half a billion user profiles and accounts that can be used to login to a host of services all over the internet. You know that whole ubiquitous profile thing that Facebook is trying to do? Where you can use one login for everything? Well if you were a web developer and you wanted to support the number two most widely accessible profile, you'd be going with Google+ now.

It's a big deal. In fact, it's huge. Google+ is, now more than ever, a real grown-up social network. People are using it and there doesn't seem to be any stopping its growth.

No, not even with "lololol #ghosttown" jokes.

Source: Google Blog

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • defred34

    I wonder how many of these are dormant accounts.

    Update: Or well, at least those who HAVE to use Google+ some way or another since they are on Android. Also, I realize that Google has been forcing users to use G+ through YouTube, Google Play etc...so its not really a fair game.

    • Azzy

      On the basis of the title, presumably 265 million

    • Bob Burgess

      Question, did you even read the article? Here, I'll give you highlights "over 300 million people who have created an account and yet according to Google's own admission aren't active", "235 million of whom are active "across Google" ", "135 million users are active in the stream. That means, if we can assume past definitions are still true, those users either visit plus.google.com or use the mobile app to view content.".

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      If you read the post you'd know, or at least get a good feel

      • defred34

        come on, I know they put some figures out there...but it still isn't representative because a lot of dudes got boxed into using it from Youtube and Google Play (and God knows what else). Thing is, people maybe "accidently" sign up, and then go into their account to play around for a while. Won't that be counted as active? Plus, we don't know the definition of active here. (it could be logged once in 6 months...who knows).

  • FrillArtist

    Lol. They force people to join. Look at gmail and now the play store.

    • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

      You don't need to upgrade to a G+ account to use Gmail.

      • FrillArtist

        That's not what I meant. Read my response to Zachary.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      ?? I don't understand what you mean by the "force" people to use it. you never have to use gmail or any other google service when you sign up. Is it easier to use other services when you have a google account? YEAH, but do you have to use it? NO.

      • FrillArtist

        Why then are we forced to use a G+ account to write reviews on the Play Store? That's forcing people to use a service.

        • Zachary Bonjour

          That is forcing you to have one, not use it. You would be a part of that 300 million INactive users group.

          • FrillArtist

            Inactive? That's not Google's definition. Last time Vic Gundora released figures for G+, it was discovered that they counted gmail users as well. A large percent that was highly inactive. Now they release these new figures right after it becomes mandatory to use G+ to post Play Store reviews. Accounts that are most likely dormant but are nonetheless counted in this supposed "upsurge". What a joke.

        • ercliou

          many sites use facebook login to let you comment.. is that forcing you to use fb? nope

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          Yeah....If you don't want to comment than don't. some sites have a FB based comment system. that doesn't force you to use FB that means that if you want to comment use FB if you don't want FB don't comment, the same goes for the Play store (with G+ of course). This is to pressure you not Force. Forcing would be like you have to have a G+ account to use a device or something and not even a chrome book does that (I should know I have a CR-48)

          • FrillArtist

            That doesn't make any sense. Pressure? Force? What are you talking about? If you want to use an Android device, you have to a gmail/Google account. If you want to comment on the Play Store, you have to have a G+ account. They're the same thing. Except the last one requires two things Google account and an activated G+ account.

          • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

            pretty much what I'm getting at is for google social services you have to use G+. you don't get mad for having Gtalk services when you signed up for google so this should be no different. My Forced vs Pressured comment was just saying that nobody is MAKING you use google services at all.

          • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

            Oh, BTW you do NOT have to use a google account to use Android. You need a google account to access google services. you don't have to. you could use amazon for your store and a different map app for your maps. Most people use google on android simply because of all the services.

  • defred34

    Google+ is officially the thing I hate most about Google (and that they are forcing people by the hundreds of millions to use it).

    • Graeme Law

      Why do you hate it? :-)

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      how? they are not forcing anyone to use it. It's there. Nobody forces you to use facebook when you sign up for it either.

      • defred34

        Well, FB I joined by my own will. Now, for things like leaving Google Play reviews (which I religiously do), I NEED a G+ account. They wanna inflate their numbers. Fair enough, but no one wins FB while Mark's there.

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          funny I DID NOT join FB of my own free will. I wanted to take part in something (don't remember what it was) but I had to have a FB login. I can't remember if it was a site login or that' how a group communicated. But FB has their own methods of "forcing" people into using it as well. But I don't really see it as forcing since you still don't have to do it. "Forcing" seems to be the wrong word to use though since both companies seem to use peer pressure techniques to get you to join. It's not like they care why you join as long as you do.

      • mesmorino

        That may have been true in the past, but since they started merging your Google account into your G+ account, they HAVE been forcing you to use it. See the recent article on the Play store comments right here on Android Police. It is generally accepted that there is no way to use the play store without a Google account, but now they are making it so that you can't comment without a G+ account

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          What I find really interesting is that there seems to be a growing number of people that see a separation between Google and Google+. There isn't. If you have a Google account it's Google+. Google+ is generally the social features that are in Google If you want to be social with Google (comment post pictures for others etc..) this falls under the "plus" in Google. Doing this doesn't force you to use google products but it does make it really easy to use them.

  • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

    There are incentives to "upgrade" old Google accounts to new G+ accounts but NOBODY is forced to use G+. The numbers here are pretty clear: 500m G+ accounts, but 135m active users in the Google+ stream. 135 million users are actively using G+ voluntarily. Crystal clear.

  • Frank Fiorta

    You are not forced to use G+ for YouTube or the Play Store. If you already use G+ it just ties in. So stop the misinformation.

    • Josh

      This is very clear, though, I don't think there's any misinformation.

      "The most important stat, though, is 135 million users are active in the stream."

      • Frank Fiorta

        I was speaking to the people in the comments saying it, not the article itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/humberto.verdugo1 Humberto Verdugo

    instead, they should announce how many nexus 4 they have sold

    • Nevi_me

      lol different teams

  • Go Hawkeyes

    Does Facebook ever say how many active users they have? There may be over a billion accounts but how many are actually logged into on a regular basis?

    • defred34

      Close to a billion I'd say.

      • Go Hawkeyes

        You honestly think that most people who have at one time signed up for Facebook continually use it? I doubt it.

        • defred34

          Hell yeah. Look at the evidence presented by the guy above me.

          • Go Hawkeyes

            OK, I was confused. I thought the one billion number was the number of accounts they had, not the number of active users. I'm sure the number of actual accounts is significantly higher.

    • patcito

      Yes, they say saw on their new site http://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts


      One billion monthly active users as of October 2012.
      Approximately 81% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada.
      584 million daily active users on average in September 2012.
      604 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products as of September 30, 2012."

      • Mapplegate

        Keep in mind that ANY interaction with Facebook logs someone as active. That could include making comments on sites using a Facebook login, or browsing a website that pulls your account info to show who on your friends list has liked the page already.

        The same can be said for Google though, but less pages have that kind of tie in.

        • patcito

          Same could not be said about Google, they specifically said this was the number of people who actually use the the plus.google.com stream page, not people +1'ing things. Read the article.

          • Mapplegate

            You are correct, I forgot that bit when writing my reply.

    • Jordan

      Well, I know personally, I've had three troll accounts on FB. Whenever one got sniffed out by the people I troll, I'd move to the next, so there's at least four for me that only 1-2 are active on any give week.

  • Halfey Halphstein

    Except that I don't feel forced at all to join it (and if you're not on it then I'd have to say you're missing something great). A fact about me; G+ is something I've been waiting for because fb isn't doing it right and twitter is just not my type. I follow around the same number of people in both G+ and twitter but my G+ stream is around 2 or 3 times livelier than twitter's. Not to mention I have better info consumption on G+ than I had in twitter, and most of them are original content and not just resharing (unlike in twitter where my daily streams are mostly consisted of retweets).

  • Charles Chism

    You're not forced to use G+. I have 3 gmail accounts and 1 of them does not have a G+ profile. All you need is just a google account to use Google services. Not a G+ profile. I don't know why people think you are "forced" to use it. It's not even like FB which has partnerships with other companies that put "Sign Up Using Facebook" in your face moreso than just a simple "Sign Up" link (Spotify was like this for awhile but then it changed up a bit, you literally had to hunt down a link to sign up without using FB credentials)

    • FORCED G+

      YES GOOGLE forced to use G+.

      • Charles Chism

        If you feel forced it's only because YOU removed your choice from the equation. Don't wan to use something, don't sign up for it. Plain and simple. I never felt forced to sign up for FB whenI wanted to use something some years ago. I wanted to use a product that required a FB sign in, so I used it. Don't want to sign up for something, then don't use that thing that requires you to sign up for it.

        Too many options on the internet to say you are "forced" to use something.

      • Nevi_me

        This is the same as saying that Google forces you to use a Google account on Android. You can use Android without a Google account, there are plenty devices out there without 'gapps'. Similarly there might be a lot of people out there with google accounts but no G+, I can count about 20 friends who have gmail accounts, but no G+

  • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

    The problem with this and other Google services is that it's confusing. I keep a separate account just for plus, cause I found out that people that I had on my phone as contacts were showing up as suggestions on G+. I don't want to be suggested to others just because they have my phone number, which I never wanted to be associated with G+ anyway.

    Google doesn't let you keep certain things separate, and if they do, sooner or later they will "encourage" you to join them. And if you join them, there's no way to separate them again if you think you made a mistake. Same happened with my youtube account. The inability to undo certain changes like that is what keeps me apprehensive about signing up just like that with my main gmail account, so I have to use different accounts for different services.

    • defred34

      Yes, what you say about people mistakenly clicking to join Google+ from Gmail or any other Google service...happens a lot. Most people don't even realize what they are doing. The next thing you know, Google has shitloads of your data to share with advertisers. This is a serious matter and I think like what happened with Microsoft, the feds will go after Google for their heavy-handed tactics.

      • Charles Chism

        If data is an issue, Google already had your data from the moment you signed up for a gmail account. They didn't need G+ for that. And, actually, long before you got a gmail account. Getting a gmail account just gave them a name to tie it to instead of an ip address

      • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

        you know, you are not the first person to say that. Let me be the next person to say THAT IS RIDICULOUS!! Linking accounts does not make google know more or less about you. The point of linking accounts is to make it easier on you. Keeping everything separate doesn't make a lot of sense to me BUT even if you want to Google has tons of ways to have multiple accounts and a easy drop down menu to switch between them. Granted normal people probably would get confused but if you have multiple accounts that you don't want to use together you are probably not part of the norm.

        • Charles Chism

          What I don't get is how people scream for integration but, when they get it, they feel it's done wrong. Can't lease everyone. From a general consumer perspective, Apple, Google, and MS are doing it right. A minority may dislike it, but the minority never makes up for the majority of profits. If you don't like it, don't use it at all is my motto.

          • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

            Just to be clear, my problem wasn't that Google has my data, but that it gives it to contacts for different services that I would rather keep separate.

            That said, you know, "people" are different types of individuals. Can you quote a substantial number of these "people", who happen to be the same individuals that "screamed" for integration, and are now complaining? You won't find anything by me, that's for sure. If you like it, fine, but painting those who don't as hypocrites is just cheap.

          • White Pawn

            Google does not suggest anyone to add someone to contact based on phone numbers! That's ridiculous. The only reason Google may suggest someone is because you have their Gmail address in your Google Contacts, or you guys have common people in your circles. This is the most natural thing it can do, and guess what, your favorite social network does the exact same thing.

            Also, linking accounts by accident? Is that a joke?

          • http://twitter.com/ao9news andy o

            Who the hell mentioned "my favorite social network"? What's the difference to be suggested to someone else's G+ if they have your email, or phone number? All I know is people from my phone's contact list started showing up as suggestions for G+ circles. If Facebook (which I assume you meant) does it, then what of it? You're the one bringing it up. And Facebook isn't in charge of my phone contacts.

            Linking accounts by accident? Learn to freaking read. Do you know what "mistake" means? The problem is that it's not undoable, and in most cases they don't tell you until it's too late.

            All of which brings me to my original point. It's confusing as hell. I want to know in no unclear terms how this is going to behave.

          • White Pawn

            I'm sorry, if I offended you; I didn't mean to. By "your favorite social network", I just meant any other social network that you may like otherwise.

            What I meant was that when G+ suggests you to add someone to one of your circles, it is only because you have their email address. That is just like searching for someone on Facebook, for example, by their email address. It is only a suggestion, and will not reveal your private information to anyone in anyway. Only someone else with your email address can find you.

            And about the 'mistake' v 'accident' argument, I suppose you mean to say that you linked the accounts consciously, but were not aware of what it might do. And now you want to undo it and are under the impression that it cannot be done. If that is the case, there is a simple easy way to disable your G+ account, from the settings.

            If you want to continue using G+, and are only uncomfortable with the suggestions, you could simply ignore them.

          • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)


      • http://halljake.com Jake Hall

        Google does not share your data with advertisers. Advertisers tell Google what sort of person they want targeted and Google, internally, uses your data to match you up with ads. It is in Google's best interest to keep your data as private as possible, because that's how they make their money - knowing a lot about you that no other company does.

    • John O’Connor

      I wouln't classify that as confusing whatsoever. One way I found G+ immeasurably better than Facebook deals with contact interaction. FB took ALL of your contacts without permission and would correlate/combine them with your FB friends info. When they (FB Friends) changed their contact info, FB would overwrite what was stored in your phone. I found it both invasive and intrusive, especially if a friend or family was hacked, deleted their profile or any multitude of other reasons to remove info from FB alone. I certainly don't think anybody was happy when grandma's number was removed from your phone when FB saw fit to delete the entire contact.

  • http://twitter.com/RicoWorldPeace Rico World Peace

    A total and complete piece of misinformation . Very few people are using Google plus regularly. What a joke post. Yes Virgina, there is a Google plus network but it is a ghost town.

    • Charles Chism

      How is it misinformation? Do you know the 500m people who have upgrade or the 135m who use it daily to say it is? Maybe your stream is dead, but mine is always moving along. And I have plenty of people on my stream who are either from XDA who posts daily, friends I know personally and hang out with who post daily, I can even go to the "Local" stream and find new posts on G+ all the time.

      Just as much as I know for sure there are "dormant" accounts because one of my G+ Profiles,I never use. Don't even log into it.

      • John O’Connor

        I wish there was a way to tie my work GApps+ account with my Personal G+ account at least without having to log out of the app mobilely. Fast User Switching anybody?

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      oddly enough I posted something similar on G+ when someone said they nobody uses G+. YOU ARE USING IT WRONG! Before you start flaming hear me out. FB and G+ work differently. FB you connect with people you know (or that's how it's supposed to work) but on G+ you connect with people that have similar interests to yourself first. Once you have that down you'll see a flood of messages come through your stream. But if you don't do that first you won't get anywhere.

  • Tim Kermode

    I read the other day that various aspects of chat/video chat from Gmail will go through plus.google.com now so that would increase those figures surely..(previously it handled it different but now uses Hangouts?)

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      that's like giving FB a slap on the wrist for saying that you are active even though you only use FB messenger on your phone. Fact of the matter is that Google is G+ everything you do on Google will be apart of this, they said it from the get go. Complaining about the numbers because they are fractured just like you'd expect from FB doesn't make much sense.

  • Adam Medina

    G+ is a ghost town. Their definition of "active users" is probably not the same as ours.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      Nope, not a ghost town. Active users means you've used the service within 30 days. Its pretty universal

  • http://profiles.google.com/missj84 Jocelyn Moonjob

    The people on here saying Google is "forcing" people to use G+ act like Google has a gun to their head and are so out of touch with reality. Just wow lol

  • onpoint G

    haha suck it Facebook

    • Chris

      real mature...

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1268156559 Doug Klimah


  • http://www.facebook.com/archercc Ryan Stewart

    I don't think Google+ is a ghost town but its def in how you use it.

    For one, Google makes it MUCH easier to hide in Google+. Whenever you post something, anything, you have to tell it who you want to share this with. Which circle, public, etc. So unless I explicitly choose to broadcast it to the world its invisible to everyone but my friends. I prefer it that way.

    App wise when I look at nearby I see tons of crap. I've had some conversations with people around Atlanta through G+ and ended up running into one of them in a bar a week later. Kind of funny. Atlanta having nearly 6 million people in the area might help, I could see it being boring in a small town.

  • Kris

    It is still a ghost town for me. Of the few hundred friends I have on Facebook, less than 10 are on Google+ and none are active...

    • http://www.halfey.me/ Halfey Halphstein

      Stop treating G+ like fb. Try making new friends. In twitter people usually follow other users based on similar interests despite not knowing each other in real life yet it was never an issue at all then why must in G+ that has to be a problem?

      • Kris

        Maybe you need less emo friends on FB.

  • Hivo Del

    I love Google+. It's the best social network that hesitate at the moment

  • Chris

    Really? All I see is nerds and Asians . no one I know uses it and I use social networks for those who I know, not some ramdom stanrgers on the net. I have REAL friends you know.,.

    • John O’Connor

      I have 87 real friends using G+ and 1500+ followers. It's not all nerds and Asians, but YMMV depending on what types of interactions you have with people and how much time you invest in one network vs. another. My Social Networking use is about 10% Twitter, 25% FB and 65% G+. To each their own.

    • http://www.halfey.me/ Halfey Halphstein

      You know what? The key to make your G+ stream is "to make new friends online", which is to find people with similar interests as yours. It's not a hard thing to do and the so-called "random strangers" is not an issue. Heck even celebrities are also 'strangers' if you define strangers as "people who you don't personally know in real life". None of my real life friends are on twitter either yet the stream is better than what I have in fb, despite fb 'ONLY' have hundreds of people I personally know in real life. Being more active in G+ than fb doesn't make me lose REAL FRIENDS at all.

    • FrillArtist

      Remember, strangers are friends you just haven't met yet. Your current friends were "strangers" at one point.

      • Chris

        Yes but then difference is you know them in real life. The Internet is different. Sadly people or kids today don't understand that

        • FrillArtist

          You don't have to know someone in real life for them to be a friend.

  • LazarusDark

    There's a restaurant around the corner from my house. I pass it every day and no one is ever there, even when they are open. Its been there for years. I always thought, how do they stay in business? Then one day I'm off work and drive by at lunch. The line is out the door.
    If you don't see people on G+, you're just not in the right place. But that's fine, stay on Friendface, G+ is not for the lazy, it takes effort (and the rewards are 50x greater)

  • Dave

    I want to see Google+ succeed but some of you guys come off as seriously insecure.

    • John O’Connor

      ?? time to follow new people

      • Dave

        I'm referring to comments here.

  • JG

    Maybe I missed it.... But whats the time frame for the activity? 135 million posts on G+ per second is a lot more impressive than 135 million per year...

    It'd also be interesting to see how these statistics compare to other social media sites like Facebook & Twitter.... Both raw numbers and a per capita type comparison equalizing the difference in the number of users.

  • DeadSOL

    I use Google+ on my phone all the time! I don't have any friends using it but I follow a lot of people and check out the "What's hot" section every time! It's so wonderful and exciting! :)

    • http://twitter.com/alexeiw123 Alexei Watson

      exactly the same as me. I want to get friends on board. then it will probably turn out like the shit-storm that is facebook and I'll stop using it haha.

  • Culby

    It's going to be hilarious when the new Myspace laps G+.

  • PINJ

    It Is A Ghost Town. All They Did Is "Casually" Add The Google Play Users To The Equation.