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Google+ being called an inactive network, our math says otherwise

Major milestones already hit

At the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of social was asked about the engagement levels on Google+, as many speculate the social network lacks user engagement.

Gundotra offered the news that the 40+ million users of the social network have uploaded 3.4 billion photos to the site in just the last 100 days, a far cry from inactivity. “Someone’s uploading those photos,” Gundotra noted.

Critics cry out that Facebook has so many more photos, nearing 150 billion, a number so huge that Google+ pales in comparison. Supporters claim that Google+ could eventually do away with Facebook.

What no one is telling you

We submit to you what no one else is saying – Google+ already having 3.4 billion photos is huge and not just because of sheer numbers but because of velocity. First of all, there is absolutely no way that Facebook had 3.4 billion photos in its first 100 days, much less its first year. We decided to take a look at the velocity of photo uploads and found that Facebook, having been around for roughly 2,682 days so far, and having roughly 150 billion photos, the velocity is 55,928,411 photos uploaded per day spread over the duration of the network’s existence.

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Google+ in 100 days saw 3.4 billion photo uploads, with a velocity of roughly 34,000,000 photos uploaded per day. Now, the velocity over six years of Facebook’s existence appears to be higher, but Facebook did not rise to 40 million users in their first 100 days, nor did they have 3.4 billion photo uploads. But is that a fair comparison? Google+ isn’t exactly pioneering a new medium.

Let’s take the comparison one step further. Facebook’s velocity is 55.9 million photos per day, and with 500+ million users, that averages .11 photos per user per day. Googles velocity is 34 million photos per day, and with 40 million users, that average .85 photos per day, seven times more than Facebook which means user interactivity is nowhere near “dead” as critics claim and is actually extremely impressive for the youngest social network on the block. Google+ is growing and even with fewer users and fewer photos, that one metric reveals quite a lot about the growing social network.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Matt

    October 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

    This is more spin than anything else – you can use statistics you select to help frame the picture you're trying to convey.

    G+ leveraged a user base built on search, gmail, and picasa to gain quick interest but I wouldn't stretch interest into outright adoption or engagement. Facebook had neither of these to start with nor did they have the well established adoption of social networking at their launch.

    Show me meaningful metrics about how many users re-engage with G+ repeatedly on a day to day basis, how many hours they spend using G+ per day, how much unique & new content is added to G+ per day…

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