One of the much hyped features of Google+ are the privacy settings, which are not new compared to Facebook, but easier to configure and actually use. While it is unlikely that we’ll soon get any insight in the user numbers. The number known so far is that more than 10 million users signed up to the service within its first three weeks. If, we can expect more official numbers it will probably be at Google’s next earnings call.
While it is too early to call Google+ a success, more and more we see very interesting numbers emerge, combined with the fact that the immediate reception and hype around the service did push Google’s stock (GOOG) with 13%.
Hitwise estimated Google+ at around 300,00 daily US based visits after two weeks, comScore said on Wednesday that the site had reached 20 million page views already in only three weeks, Paul Allen estimates there’s 18 million users already and Alexa ranks the G+ subdomain at almost 2% of the entire traffic to Google properties.
In an interview with The Mercury News, Vic Gundotra – Google+ Project Lead, disclosed another interesting statistic: around 2/3 or more of the updates posted to Google+ are ‘Limited’ and shared only with a select number of people. Women are also likely to share more content privately than men and early statistics of a low number of female users (less than 15%) are wrong.
Google internal data shows that users are two to three times more likely to share content within one of their Circles than to make a general post. But Google+ is far from a finished product. Among the more glaring absences is the lack of ads. Nor does it have the massive list of games and other apps built by independent developers and outside companies like Zynga that run on the Facebook platform. There has been criticism that Google+ is too male-centric, although Gundotra and Horowitz dispute that, saying women in particular are doing more sharing in private circles rather than public posts.
The success of Google’s privacy features is not really surprising. Social network users have learned lots of the many different Facebook privacy issues, as well as a constantly rising awareness of the risks of using the internet and social networks to rant, and possibly damage their professional career.
While the circles feature made privacy easier, it needs to be argued that Facebook’s privacy settings allow to be fine tuned better but are more difficult to correctly set. Google+ made privacy and sharing with a restricted number of people easier and simple enough to be actually used. And the service continues to improve its privacy features.
Source: Mercury News