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