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Google+ now the number 2 social network as Tencent Weibo plummets

There’s a throwaway line that goes something along the lines of “Google+ is where I go when I want to be alone”. With 343-million people on the social network though, you might find it to get some personal space.

Yup, the social network that so many wrote off as sheer folly on the Google’s part is now the second most popular in the world.

According to the latest stats from Global Web Index Facebook still has the lead in the social networking charts with around 700 000 active users.

Google+’s place at number two however is the real headline finding though. Given that Global Web Index’s findings concentrate on active users, it puts pay to any theories that Google might be fluffing up the social network’s numbers. As Google head of social Vic Gundotra put it “That’s a lot of ghosts”.

Interestingly for Google, if you consider YouTube a social network, comes in at number three. This, says Global Web Index demonstrates the “immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer”. It adds that is also a key indication of why Google+ integrated with the Google product set is “so key to the future of search and the internet”.

Social network numbers

The fastest growing network in 2013 in terms of “Active Usage” meanwhile (defined as “Used or contributed to in the past month”) was Twitter. According to Global Web Index, it grew 40% to 288m across our 31 markets (approximately 90% of global internet population).

Twenty-one percent of the global internet population now use Twitter actively on a monthly basis. This compares to 21% actively using YouTube, 25% actively using Google+ and a staggering 51% using Facebook on a monthly basis.

Social network change

The figures also point to another interesting phenomenon: the decline of the local social network in favour of the global one.

The likes of MeinVz, Hyves, Copains d’Avant have all been hurt by the rapid spread of Facebook and other social networks. Worst off though are the Chinese social networks. Tencent Weibo, Kaixin, Sina Weibo and QZone all declining substantially, up to 57% in the case of Tencent Weibo.

Global Web Index says that market saturation might be one reason that these social networks are struggling. It does however point out a few other reasons:

  • There are many networks, and it’s inevitable, despite China’s huge population and growing internet penetration that such a large number of mass market networks cannot be maintained
  • Growing government clamp down with real names and phone number becoming the required standard for signing up
  • Shifting of usage to more informal social media including blogs and forums, where privacy is easier to maintain
  • Growth of apps and mobile
  • Growth of international networks through proxy servers, VPNs, access through multi-national company networks and mobile apps.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • Google Suck

    343 million people. Your so dumb. Thats because a google account is potentially a gmail account, a youtube account. Thats why google claim it has the most gmail users. Its not bigger than hotmail. Once you make a google account you automatically have a gmail and all these other accounts. When you buy an android phone you are forced to make one account. So googles numbler mean nothing. Reality is no one uses this shit google plus. they are using there search engine which is number 1 to drive traffic to google plus. Thats cheating. Google are shit. Thats why they are being investigated for market domination. Lol

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