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Should You be Using Google+?

ImageGoogle+, on paper anyway, is the world’s second largest social network after Facebook. And while Facebook’s user-ship now tops one billion, G+’s remains considerably lower than that at around 500 million.

Certainly this number is nothing to balk at, but it’s undoubtedly true that a great many of Google+’s 500 million users have accounts merely because they were issued them after they signed up for another Google service like Gmail or YouTube.

But that said, there are indications that engagement amongst Google+’s user-base is growing.

Of the site’s 500 million+ current users it’s estimated that about 359 million members are actually active on the site, representing a 27% increase from just three months ago.

Google+ also includes a number of standout features that further distinguish it from being just a poor man’s version of Facebook.


A top-quality video chat platform that costs nothing, Hangout allows you to hold video chat sessions with an unlimited number of people right from your Google+ account. No downloads are necessary to use Hangout and it can be launched from your Gmail account as well as from your G+ page. Hangouts can be broadcast in real time and saved to your YouTube channel. Hangout enables you to slide share, collaborate with colleagues and clients, or broadcast events and interviews.


Although they’re often among Google+’s more maligned features, Circles are in fact an incredibly easy and convenient means of content sharing. Every time you add a contact on G+ you can assign them to a particular circle - such as family, friends, co-workers, etc. So unlike on Facebook, where sharing something means potentially sharing it with your entire followership (including parents, relatives, etc.), Circles enable you to share selectively.

Joining different circles can also be something akin to joining a LinkedIn group; an effective means of tapping into communities of experts and joining conversations. Circles are a particularly valuable tool for marketers in that when someone “circles” or follows you, they’re effectively granting you permission to send them email.


Google+ communities can be broken down into two types: public and private. This feature makes it possible to form groups around particular interests, or even brands. And unlike on Facebook, you can join a Google+ community as a brand, allowing you to readily interact with influencers and experts, as well as current and potential customers.

Better integration across Google

Another of Google+’s major advantages is that it facilitates easier integration across all of Google’s other platforms and services. YouTube, Google Search, and Gmail, can all be seamlessly integrated with Plus. Google+ facilitates much better control than Facebook, in terms of who can see the content you share.

 The web’s sleeping giant?

The service just turned two years old and there are still a lot of things about it that could be better. It’s not easy to set up and the metrics about how many people are actually using it remain dubious.  

So while it remains to be seen whether or not Google+ is really the sleeping giant of the web that’s about to awaken, it’s certain that rumors of its impending death have been greatly exaggerated.


Join The Conversation

  • Alex Baker's picture
    Jul 17 Posted 4 years ago Alex Baker

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for clarifying "Circles" for me. I'll be honest, I'm still learning my way around Google+ but there are a lot of things I'm liking about it. The fact that people like Guy Kawasaki are heavily into G+ is another strong indicator that in the long run, the network will likely be a success. Especially when you consider its integration into all Google's other services!

  • Alex Baker's picture
    Jul 17 Posted 4 years ago Alex Baker

    William, I agree that the numbers are very skewed with G+. But. . . there are indications that users are becoming more engaged with the network. If you look at the long game, G+ has a lot going for it, provided they can smooth out some of the rough spots and make it more user friendly. With all the growing reports of Facebook user fatigue we are hearing, G+ definitely has an opportunity to start attracting disenfranchised Facebookers out there.

  • Talking Finger's picture
    Jul 17 Posted 4 years ago Talking Finger

    I agree G+ is growing, but the numbers are very skewed.

    When you create a gmail, you get a G+ account. Google counts this as TWO “active users”. When you create a YouTube account, you get a G+ account. Google counts this as TWO “active users”. When you create a Blogger account, you get a G+ account. Google counts this as TWO “active users”.
    There have been a ton of reports of people having to log out/log in from YouTube to G+ for example, even with the same credentials. As well, we have “Places” pages that are counted as individual accounts away from a G+ Page, again counted as 2 active users when combined ( a pain in the neck process).
    The problem with G+ is it is a klunky social network. Out of all of the social networks, it seems that people have the most trouble adapting to it as opposed to the others. Of course savvy social networkers and people who are well versed in social adapt easily, however the very vast majority of the population are not social pros.
    It also seems to have the lowest ROI (whatever the measurement you choose) across the board. The engagement levels are coming up a bit, and a company absolutely should have a presence. Just do not expect consumerism there as of yet.

  • socialitesos's picture
    Jul 17 Posted 4 years ago socialitesos

    Hi Alex.

    As an avid Google+ user, I'm going to disagree with the sentiment of your article if that's ok!  I appreciate you are not declaring it a graveyard and predicting it's imminent demise, but even so, I don't think your article gives anywhere near the credit that Google+ deserves.

    Also, your comments about circles are incorrect - You don't 'join' circles, that isn't possible in Google+.  You need to be added to a circle by somebody else and you can have no possible idea what circle they have added you to unless they are kind enough to share that private piece of information with you.  Circles are nothing at all like a Linkedin group.  The closest to a LinkedIn group would be a Google+ community.

    You can add anyone you like to your circles and name those circles what you like, but that doesn't mean that they will choose to share anything with you (let alone content that may be relevant to the name of your circle). Circles take a bit of learning and it's important to understand how they work before making any judgment on how useful they are.  

    Most of the global thought leaders on Social Media are heavy users of Google+ and that's for good reason. For example, check out Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan, Martin Shervington and others for their views on the subject (and also the correct way of doing things).  


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