Google+ surpasses 10m users – could hit 20m by weekend

12 Jul 2011

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Using a model he believes is ‘sound’, serial entrepreneur Paul Allen now reckons that Google+ has surpassed 10m users and, growing at a rate in excess of 2.2m every 33 hours, could hit 20m users at the weekend.

Not bad for a fortnight-old social network, but still a drop in the ocean compared to Facebook. However, if that rate of 2.2m every day and a half is sustained it would take Google roughly a year from launch to reach Facebook’s 750m users.

However, that may be unlikely since firstly sustaining that level of growth would be hard work. Much of the sign-up rate is down to the fact that Google+ is shiny and new and everyone wants to be on it.

Secondly, you need a Google account to qualify to join Google+, which means having a Gmail address. Since there are 200m Gmail users in the world, Google will need to devise a way of allowing the rest of the world onto Google+ using their email identity of choice.

It is most likely that after the initial wave of enthusiasm for Google+ it will be a gradual organic growth that may take more than just a year to catch up to Facebook. But it’s still a remarkable achievement after just two weeks.

So if Allen, who is also founder of Ancestry.com, is correct in his measurement which focuses on the US Census, then the numbers outside the US could be enormous.

“I project that Google will easily pass 10m users tomorrow and could reach 20m users by this coming weekend if they keep the Invite Button available,” Allen wrote on his Google+ account. “As one G+ user put it, it is easy to underestimate the power of exponential growth.

“My model is simple. I start with US Census Bureau data about surname popularity in the US, and compare it to the number of Google+ users with each surname. I split the US users from the non-US users. By using a sample of 100-200 surnames, I am able to accurately estimate the total percentage of the US population that has signed up for Google+.

“Then I use that number and a calculated ratio of US to non-US users to generate my worldwide estimates. My ratio is one US user for every 2.12 non-US users,” Allen said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com