The official numbers are in for Google’s new social network, Google+. Beating out most previous third-party estimates that we’ve seen, the company said today that it now has 90 million users worldwide. Presumably this means monthly uniques visitors given that the earnings release says “now,” but we’ll try to get more clarification around engagement numbers when we get on the quarterly call in a few minutes.
The most recent third party stats we’ve seen (from comScore) have indicated it had around 67 million unique visitors as of November. Worldwide December numbers from the measurement firm aren’t out yet, but US ones are: they showed G+ bringing in 15.9 million November then growing healthily to 20.6 million last month.
Google is evidently so pleased with this growth — or so eager to refute doubts about it — that the company led off the release with a statement from chief executive Larry Page on the matter. “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally – well over double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+ we will create amazing experiences across our services. I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012 – there are tremendous opportunities to help users and grow our business.” (As Dan Frommer notes, Page seems to be especially fond of the “super excited” California colloquialism.)
Like I said, engagement numbers are key to understanding what’s really going on with the search engine leader’s social network. The heavy integration of G+ across other Google properties could be leading lots of people to check it out once but not come back. But enough skepticism, this growth is very impressive no matter how you look at it, especially in such a short amount of time. For the many G+ fans/users out there (especially all you TechCrunch commenters), and for companies looking to use it as a new developer or marketing platform, this is a big day.
[Update: Page followed up to say on the call that G+ is getting serious engagement, although his exact description is a bit vague. "I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: +users are very engaged with our products — over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly." It sounds like he means the number of Google+ users who are using other Google products, as Jeff Bercovici notes, not the number of active G+ users out of the 90 million. The wording is confusing, and seems purposefully misleading if he means the former. If he actually means the latter, that'd be higher than Facebook's engagement, which is about half of all monthly active users logging on every day. I'm asking Google for more details.]