Monday, October 10, 2011

Update: Google+ is Emptying Out

Google certainly did not want to hear the latest news on usage.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Google+ traffic is off 60% since September 20th. that was the day they opened it to everyone and removed the invite only tag. The site experienced a huge traffic surge of over 1,200% that day, but has since dropped consistently.       

I originally wrote about the concerns of the new social media site here: Google+, Party of No One? 
But a funny thing happened on the way to world domination. It appears that for all the members signing up, few are actually hanging out in the Hangouts. As reported by Dan Reimold for MediaShift, Google+ "is worse than a ghost town." While actual details on traffic and usage are hard to come by, more anecdotal evidence is suggesting that the assumptions of lack of volume is in fact the case. 
In that post, I did relay that media and news outlets are embracing it and gave some examples. There is no way to definitively prove that that sub-set of users are still engaged or not.  

Offering a few more thoughts on the API growth and other Hangout features in this post: Did the Cool Kids Just Arrive at the Google+ Party?
 The next few weeks will be a litmus test for the social network. Will the opening of Google+ to the 'general public' spur it past the "must engage daily" tipping point? Just as important is the announcement of the new API Hangout. Allowing third-party application development could certainly kick the place into high gear. new features are being launched as well that hold a great deal of potential.
Right now it looks like the excitement of Facebook Timeline is winning.
The already heavily invested Facebook user is finding it hard to create a new virtual social media world in Google+.

Simply put, there will have to be a major effort to convince people to shift their primary usage to Google+. An app that allows easy transfer of content from Facebook to Google+ would be one way. Another option would be for Google to focus on making it a news and media driven social media site. Google has a lot of work ahead of them to make Google+ a viable challenge to Facebook.

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