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When Google’s latest attempt at social networking, Google+, launched Memeburn wrote, “Google’s quest for social importance seems to be never ending”. Some may now be tempted to find this quest as completed.
In fact Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com (not Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder) has calculated what he thinks Google+’s numbers are. He boldly writes in a post on his Google+ stream, first picked up by social media blog Mashable, that Google+ will reach ten million users by July 12. He also claims that by this weekend that could be 20 million.
Allen, who has been tracking the new social-network’s growth, writes:
My surname-based analysis shows that the number of Google+ users worldwide reached 7.3 million July 10 – up from 1.7 million users on July 4th. That is a 350 percent increase in six days. The user base is growing so quickly that it is challenging for me to keep up, since the number of users of any given surname (even the rare ones I am tracking) seems to be climbing every day.
More impressive than last week’s growth is the astonishing growth in users from yesterday at mid-day to tonight — a 30 percent jump. My latest estimate tonight shows approximately 9.5 million users. This suggests that 2.2 million people have joined Google+ in the past 32-34 hours.
I project that Google will easily pass 10 million users tomorrow and could reach 20 million user by this coming weekend if they keep the Invite Button available. As one G+ user put it, it is easy to underestimate the power of exponential growth.
Allen, who has been added to more than 3000 people’s circles (Google+’s equivalent to “Friend” or “Follow”) — has been monitoring Google+’s membership based on this model he built.
The model, as he explains in the post, is based on US Census Bureau data on how many people there are in the US with particular surnames. Tracking those particular surnames, he then extrapolates his overall conclusions based on the growth experienced since the launch of Google+ by those surnames. Allen recognises the shortfalls of his model in failing to account for non-US users. However, even so he still is of the opinion that his model is sound.
Google (at the time of writing) has yet to comment about the “milestone”.
Champagne corks popped
With reports of the ten million users in less than a month filtering through, it’s hardly surprising that some feel that Google’s quest for social importance has been completed.
In its initial report on the milestone, Mashable notes that “this is amazing growth even for a giant such as Google”. It then states that perhaps “after so many stumbles – Google might finally be conquering the social networking arena”.
Truly, this growth is staggering. However, as Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Or as is more commonly said, “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”.
We’ve been here before
Barely a month after Google Buzz had launched with “skyrocketing” usage numbers, Ben Parr, Mashable’s Editor-at-Large wrote in a column titled, “Google Buzz Has Completely Changed the Game: Here’s How” that Google may have “finally figured out social media”.
The article went on to chronicle why users have embraced Buzz, and the service’s potential impact on Facebook and Twitter. It also predicted how Google Buzz would play out. Of course none of those predictions turned out to be true.
Mashable was not alone. In the authoritative Business Insider in 2010, US tech commentators declared Buzz “brilliant”, “ground-breaking” and a “game-changer”, comparing it to Facebook. US tech commentator Jason Calacanis, part of the Silicon Valley-TechCrunch jetset, declared Facebook “toast” and that it had just “lost half its value”.
This is the same excitement kids feel over their newest toy. It’s how we geeks feel when we get our newest gadget. And it all fed the “skyrocketing” growth of Buzz. Are we seeing the same effect here with Google+?