Google+ Losing Ground?

Google+ is the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows of the Web world. It had a meteoric start, becoming, perhaps, the fastest growing site ever. Everyone had to go out for opening night: in its first three weeks, the service had seen 20 million unique visitors. But just like theaters were less full for Harry Potter in its second week, Google+ appears to be losing a bit of ground. Is this a trend that is going to continue?

Experian Hitwise announced that Google’s social network saw its traffic decrease by about 3 percent in the last week of July. Experian’s Matt Tatham says, “It’s really small. Just to keep it in context, we’re just a month in. Out of the gate they had a good start.” The key, agree experts, is for Google to leverage that good start and convert curious first-time visitors into long-term fans. This is going to be a challenge: Google+ users spent 10 percent less time, on average, on the service. They spent an average of just over 5 minutes on Google+1, while Facebook users spent 11 times that much per day (granted that figure is self-reported from Facebook itself).

Another comparison worth noting: Facebook has about 750 million users to Twitter’s 200 million. While there are inactive accounts, those are still very sizable statistics. Google+ can count 10 million – again, very respectable. But according to Hitwise, only 10 percent of these registered users visit the site.

The biggest concern is that Google+ will fizzle out like Buzz, but this stab at social networking seems to have traction behind it. When integrated with Google’s other offerings, it can become a powerful tool. As MSNBC reported, the site may be beneficial for job seekers in some industries (social, technology, etc.). This, and other updates and improvements, are designed at keeping those first-time users engaged.

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