Google+ Has 62 Million Users Now and May Reach 400 Million by End of 2012

The Internet search giant is adding 625,000 new users a day to the service and will finish 2012 with 400 million, said Paul B. Allen, founder of Ancestry.com.

Google Inc. (GOOG) is adding 625,000 new users a day to the Google+ social-networking service, which may total 400 million members by the end of next year, according to independent analysis of its growth. Photo: Widjaya Ivan/Flickr

Paul Allen, a Google+ watcher whose estimates about the social network’s growth have proved accurate in the past, claims that the site now has 62 million users and is adding 625,000 new users per day, reports Mashable.

“It may be the holidays, the TV commercials, the Android 4 signups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouthmor a combination of all these factors,” Allen wrote on his G+ profile page Tuesday, “but there is no question that the number of new users signing up for Google+ each day has accelerated markedly in the past several weeks.”

Google, the world’s largest Internet-search company, aims to challenge the social-networking supremacy of Facebook Inc., a site with more than 800 million members, says Bloomberg.

Google+, which lets users organize their friends in circles, was introduced earlier this year as a test project and then opened up to the general public in September.

But Allen is not measuring active users, which is what Facebook measures. He’s just measuring total users.

Experian Hitwise, however, found that those users are on the rise as well, though they represent a fraction of G+’s base. Hitwise found that total visits to G+ hit 9.4 million for the week ending Dec. 17, the most recent full week it tracked.

That was a nice jump over the 7.2 million visits G+ experienced in the comparable week in November, but below the 15 million visits to G+ for the week ending Sept. 24, when Google opened the previously invitation-only site to the public.

Allen writes that G+ will reach 100 million users by Feb. 25, 2012 and 200 million by Aug. 3. By this time next year, G+ will have close to 300 million users.

Google+ may be benefiting from the popularity of Google’s Android mobile operating system, which makes it easy to sign up. As the service gains traction, more people will invite family and friends to join, further accelerating its growth, Allen said in a Google+ posting.

Google’s last official acknowledgement of G+’s membership came during a conference call with analysts, when CEO Larry Page pegged the figure at 40 million.

Katie Watson, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California- based Google, declined to discuss the current user numbers

Google shares climbed 1.1 percent to $640.25 at the close of New York trading yesterday. The stock has gained 7.8 percent this year.

Meanwhile, Facebook is said to be preparing an initial public offering, helping generate funds for its own expansion.

The company is considering raising about $10 billion in the IPO, which would value Facebook at more than $100 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.

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