Google+ has shot past Twitter and YouTube to become the world’s second-largest social network, the Global Web Index suggests, while Facebook retains its grip at the top of the heap.
Google+ attracted some 343m monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2012, reflecting an increase of 27pc from the year-ago period.
The Global Web Index defines active users as those who have used or contributed to the site in the past month.
Google+ grew in terms of active usage by 27pc to 343m users to become the No 2 social platform, Global Web Index consulting director Brett Petersen said.
“Interestingly for Google, YouTube (not previously tracked by us as a social platform) comes in at No 3, demonstrating the immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer. This 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.”
Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube drew some 300m active users, placing it as the world’s third-largest social network. Microblogging site Twitter follows closely behind, with 288m active users.
Facebook’s number of active users worldwide? About 693m, according the Global Web Index.
“Something we’re seeing in our initial findings is a return to growth for Facebook,” Petersen said.
“(The year) 2012 saw Facebook shrug off the potential for Facebook fatigue and saturation in a spectacular way with active users growing 33pc to 693m users globally.”
Twitter, however, has gained more active users in recent months than any other social network.
“The fastest-growing network in 2013 in terms of ‘active usage’ was Twitter, which grew 40pc across our 31 markets,” Petersen said.