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Google+ still ‘growing much faster than Facebook’

Think Google+ is in decline? Think again. According to internet research firm Experian Hitwise, Google’s largest social effort to date is experiencing massive growth.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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“Google+ total US visits reach more than 49 million in Dec-11, biggest month to date & up 55% compared to Nov-11″ the company tweeted.

It added that Google+ had experienced visitor growth, in the US at least for “8 out of the last 9 weeks”.

Analyst Paul Allen recently told the Daily Mail that the social network had gone past 62-million user mark. He added that it was likely to continue experiencing phenomenal growth throughout 2011.

Google has not released any official figures for Google+, since it announced that the social network had reached 40-million users in its 2011 Q3 financial report.

“Based on the accelerated growth I’m seeing and all the dials and levers Google can still utilise, and the developer ecosystem that will be developed, I predict that 2012 is going to be a breakout year for Google Plus and that it will end next year with more than 400-million users,” he told the UK-based newspaper.

That number would see Google+ have nearly double the number of registered users Twitter currently has. It is, however, still less than half of Facebook’s current 800-million plus strong user base.

Allen’s estimate may, though, be conservative. Another research firm, Global Web Index, reckons that Goole+ has over 150-million users.

One factor helping ensure continual user growth is Google’s determination to integrate Google+ into all of its products.

The most recent attempt at this included updates to Gmail user accounts, allowing them to sort their mail and chat contacts using their Google+ circles.

While there were reports of a massive drop off following the initial surge of registrations when Google+ went public, the social network seems to have regained much of the momentum that led to it being declared the fastest growing social network in history when it was still in the invite-only testing phase.

According to Global Web Index “Google+ is growing at a much faster rate than Facebook did when it was first launched”.

Not bad for a product that even senior Google staff admitted to having doubts about.