Google+ By the Numbers: Anatomy of a Mega-Hit

Okay, we know Google+ is the coolest thing in the tech/social media world right now. But, how popular is it?

According to, G+ had 4.5 million users on July 11. The NEXT DAY they estimated the user base at 10 million. Now they’re talking about 20 million users over the next few days. (To be clear, these are not official numbers from Google.)

On July 9, Google CEO Eric Schmidt affirmed that G+ had “millions” of users.

But even without these estimates and rough numbers, there are solid reasons to believe G+ will be a major player, giving Facebook and Twitter sleepless nights.

1. Google has massive mindshare. Google is not just a company or a search engine. It’s a verb. And to some people it IS the Internet. They dominate search everywhere (except China). That gives them billions of users.

2. Google already offers hundreds of applications with hundreds of millions of registered users. Because G+ integrates so well with Google, it’s wicked easy to become a G+ user if you already use of Gmail or other Google products. This reduces the “friction” of building a user base.

3. G+ is clean, fast, and easy to use. It offers more features than FaceBook and Twitter combined — and it integrates with pretty much every other Google service (with the possible exception of Google Apps). You get the convenience of having many useful applications under one login and a single bar on your browser (the new Google “Black Bar”).

4. Google will continue to add features and functionality based on how users respond. New innovations are a cornerstone of Google’s business model, so look for more bells and whistles soon and often.

5. User referrals will power G+ growth, maybe even to an exponential degree (for a while anyway). We love to tell others about our new toys, don’t we? So, if you tell two friends, and they tell two friends . . .

Oh, and one more thing: Most article/blog post/tweets I see about G+ are positive. Given Google’s big fail on Buzz and Wave, people are more than willing to slam them for even the slightest misstep. So the (apparent) lack of complaints is a strong sign that people like G+.

And having a product people like to use is the most important piece of the puzzle.

What do you think? Is G+ all that? Do FaceBook and Twitter need to worry? Or is it all just honeymoon hype?