Google+ bombs

By Razib Khan | March 6, 2012 7:57 am

Google+ Lags Far Behind Facebook, Twitter and MySpace in Latest Study:

Google+ became the fastest growing social network within months of its debut last June, but a recent study casts doubt on whether most of its users are spending much time on the site.

According to ComScore, users spent an average of just 3.3 minutes on Google+ in the month of January, a decline from its recent figures and a tiny sliver of Facebook’s total.

I accept the argument of friends that G+ and Facebook are fundamentally different, and that Google’s aim here is not to replicate Facebook. But I also think that this is well short of what Google was intending for G+ at this stage; otherwise they would surely have quashed the media bubble and hyperbole which crested last summer. G+ is obviously much better than Buzz. But that’s a low bar.

  • Simon

    I’ve no doubt that their measurement is accurate, as these things go, but I have no idea what they measured.

    For example, I have browser tabs open for both FB & G+, occasionally I flip to those tabs, read, maybe comment, maybe click on a link. I post about once a day on both sites.

    What will ComScore have measured in that?

  • James Harris

    Measuring web analytics is such a weird thing anyway that it is problematic to rely on a single source, and since knowledgeable people on the web know that I think we can assume, and by “we” I mean discerning readers, that some kind of hack job is in place for reasons not entirely clear.

    Anyone who relies on a single source for the web analytics doesn’t know the web.

    Reporters gleefully reporting from a single source as if it’s a messenger from God are suspect.

    G+ is new. Give me at least three analytics sources before you even pretend to know what’s happening with it.

  • Joshua

    I expect that the explosion occurred because many people, myself included, got a bunch of invites to join in that period. When I actually tried to use the site I found it counter-intuitive, high-maintenance and restrictive. I glance at it every once and a while to see if anybody has posted anything of any interest over there I couldn’t get from another social network (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube subscriptions, etc.), but there never is. Either there is some key to using the site that is eluding myself and many others (which would speak of a pretty poor design) or it’s really just not that useful.

  • Clark

    The problem is that I don’t know anyone who uses G+ regularly. I know tons of people who use Facebook, Twitter and so forth. They didn’t help matters when they released it such that anyone who was using Google Apps (i.e. paying to use gmail) couldn’t use G+. (Supposedly this is changed now – but come on. Alienate the users who actually are your best users?)

    Worst of all they failed on the question of “why use G+ instead of Facebook.” No one could give me a good answer beyond the idea of having different levels of acquaintances which ends up being more than anyone wants to manage anyway.

  • James Harris

    I use G+ and Facebook. And I use them for different things. Regardless, it’s pointless to use a single analytics source. And suspicious to go after a new product with so much fierceness from so many sources relying on Comscore.

    When was the last time you saw news organizations relying just on Comscore?

    Maybe you see it all the time. But I don’t. I need at least 3 analytics sources before I even think to take you seriously and even then they can be way off. It’s just so hard to measure.

    G+ is a new product. Answers will take time. But media madness is Old School. Difference is, we can call them on it now. And THAT is a power all the social media from Twitter, to Facebook, and G+ and beyond give us.

    Now finally we can answer back against the Old Media Powers.

  • Bart Meadows

    Hey Razib, would you please change the font color of the comments to solid black, the same as the text of your post. It is otherwise difficult to read the light gray on white text.

  • Charles Nydorf

    I haven’t been using it because I am afraid that sorting people into friends and acquaintances will offend some people.

  • Jeff B.

    For me, it’s simple… until there is integration capabilities with Google+ there will be no (or very little) utilization. Currently, the Google+ APIs are “read only”. Once 3rd party apps (think TweetDeck, Seesmic, etc.) are able to post to Google+ then I think Google+ traffic will pick up significantly. Whether Google is going to allow such integration is yet to be seen.

  • Razib Khan

    I need at least 3 analytics sources before I even think to take you seriously and even then they can be way off.

    the source above is from google (google trends). anyway, i take your point about 3 analytic sources. but you kind of sound funny. it’s obvious to most people that g+ isn’t too active in a way that rivals FB. there may be a minority of hardcore user circles, no idea. but most of the ppl in my circle have stopped updating.

  • pconroy

    I still see a lot of interesting content daily in my G+ circles, and am more active there than FB – which I see as more Family and Friends. I also post more to G+ than FB, by about a 5 to 1 ratio.

    I agree with #8, that Google needs to do more to make things seamless, like a fully functional API, and get the 3rd party developer community coming up with interesting stuff.

  • James Harris

    In response to #9, G+ users seem kind of picky. I’ve been watching patterns across about a hundred G+ accounts out of curiosity and notice that some people do REALLY well, and others appear to, well, bomb.

    But it’s about them, not the service.

    Whereas on Twitter or Facebook I can find accounts where, say, a celeb barely does anything and clocks MILLIONS of followers!

    Twitter seems to be more about personability. While Facebook is more about status, at least with the celeb accounts.

    A celeb can have millions of followers on Facebook and just about NEVER post anything at all.

    That doesn’t fly on G+.

    It’s a new service. New rules. And if you’re tanking out on G+ when you were ok on Twitter or Facebook, sorry, it’s probably about you, and not G+.

  • Daniel

    Google+ does not need to be searched. It is Google.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar