The tweet above is prominently posted on Buiness Insider’s homepage today. Once I saw it it got me thinking. Before I got sick I had an intense conversation with our editor at large Cameron Wright. He always takes the defensive on Google+. While I’m not a Google+ hater, I’m just a very casual user.
Google has a lot riding on Google+ right now. After Larry Page took back over the CEO chair last April he put most of Google’s eggs in the social network basket. After one big failed attempt at social networking (Google Buzz) and one floundering attempt at social networking (Orkut) Google needed to come correct with Google+.
They made all the right moves. Vic Gundotra basically became the executive face for the Google+ network the same way that Andy Rubin is the face for Android. Google continually rolled out new features and continues to make changes. Even yesterday they made a huge layout change that looks like they borrowed a lot of style sheets from rival Facebook.
More after the break
If you’ve been with us since the beginning than you know that Thedroidguy started out as a Twitter account, nothing more. It eventually evolved into a Blog site and I love our daily readers and our Twitter followers. So naturally last summer when Google+ rolled out I was a bit scared as to what would happen with our following. What we found was we grew two fold and cleared 100k followers four months faster than we had forecasted.
Most of the hardcore “Android Community” members moved over to Google+ and didn’t look back to Twitter. They show up every now and then but they spend most of their time over on Google+. They share a lot more but for the most part it’s the same circle of people. Sure a bunch more have latched on but when it’s all said and done there are hundreds of millions of Android users and only thousands of Android Community members actively participating on Google +.
Yesterday Gundotra said that there were 170 million people who had “upgraded” to Google+. That sounds like an outstanding number however it was later revealed that those are people using any of Google’s services now tied into the social network including; YouTube and GMail.
There was also some controversy a few weeks back over the number of people who hadn’t completed their Google+ profile. Nibletz first ran this story and found that there were over 25 million people, and possibly as high as 60 million people, who hadn’t completed their Google+ profile. Our friend Jay Yarrow over at Business Insider was able to ping Google about the discrepancy however they dismissed it as those with “private profiles”. Our west coast editor Brent quickly reminded us of the fact that Google themselves said that there would be no truly private profiles on Google+ last summer. You would at least get your name (whatever you used that fit Google’s parameters) and photo. You could control the content seen but not the fact that you had a profile.
So we did some testing. We were able to find 54 Google+ people willing to help us in our research. All 54 had their “about” info and just about everything else set to private so that only their circles could see their info. Using separate computers with cookies cleared we were able to call up each and every one of those 54 people and at least see their name and picture and not a message that said “xxx hasn’t completed their Google+ profile”.
We are a couple of hours away from Page’s 1st quarter earnings call where we are hoping to hear some hard numbers on how many people are actually logging onto Google+ and using it.
Regardless of any of this, those die hard Google+ users will defend it to the bitter end like some rabid dog defending a t-bone steak. Don’t say anything bad about their coveted Google+. Google Fan boys (for which I usually consider myself one) are quick to criticize the zombie likeness of Apple fanboys and their Apple stores. But with Google+ it’s roughly the same thing.
So I brought up a point, again with Cameron, right after Facebook announced they were buying Instagram. What if Google bought Twitter. Those Google fans would be quick to jump back onto Twitter and defend it to the bitter end. The same ones who, today talk about how bad Twitter sucks.
Don’t get me wrong, Google+ is great. Regardless of the actual numbers of users it is the fastest growing social network ever. However, is it as good as we are believing it is?
While us tech journalists are waiting patiently to see if Google beats the street with their 1st quarter earnings, we know that they will throw out some big number about Google+. Let’s see if it’s accurate.