Google this week announced that their Google Plus service has recently passed over 90 million users. The figure, revealed by Larry Page (the Google Chief Executive) on a quarterly earnings call, is an incredible achievement even for the massive search giant. Page pointed out that Google Plus had ‘shipped on average a new feature every day since we launched in June. That’s more than 200 updates in total’ before revealing the 90 million figure. He noted that:

“Engagement on Google+ is also growing tremendously. I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: Google+ users are very engaged with our products – over 60per cent of them engage daily, and over 80 per cent weekly.”

However, analysts were quick to note that of those 90 million the search engine company had not yet opened up as to how many of those accounts were actually active.

And for comparison’s sake it is worth remembering that the social networking site Facebook now has somewhere in excess of 800 million members and counting with an estimated 6 billion photos posted per month and more than 100 billion photos held in its servers. This makes it, by some distance, the world’s biggest image platform.

It is no secret that Google have made social media their aim for the next few years, with it being revealed in early 2011 that Google employee bonuses would be tied to their success with social media products and development.

Yet despite this, Google have so far declined to admit publicly that they are now in direct competition with Facebook. Last November Nikesh Arora, the chief business officer of Google went so far as to deny that Google Plus was in any way a social media network and claimed that it did not compete with Facebook, even though it had recently been described as a social project. Nikesh Arora told the UK Telegraph that Google Plus

 “… was a platform that allows Google to bring social media elements into all the products and services that they offer. Consequently we have seen YouTube move into Google Plus; and you’ve seen Google Plus and ‘direct connect’ move into their search business. We are simply trying to ensure that we use social media signals throughout all of our Google products… It is not simply about herding people together in one place and declaring it to be a social network.”


Alex is a writer and journalist who blogs regularly about issues affecting small business – everything from social media to SEO and from financial apps to tax reduction.