Originally posted on Gigaom:
While Google continues to maintain that its Google+ social network is doing just fine, thank you very much — with a user base of about 100 million, according to the web giant — skepticism about the actual popularity of the service remains high. New York Times writer Nick Bilton argues in a recent post that the problem with Google+ is poor design, since new social networks like Path and Instagram have managed to gain a substantial audience. As others have pointed out, however, those networks are much more specific than Google+ wants to be: Google’s vision is of a Facebook-style network that encompasses hundreds of millions of people and a broad range of activities. The problem is that no one seems to want that except Google.
A recent Wall Street Journal story on Google+ painted a picture of a service that is “a virtual ghost town,” a network where users spent an average of just three minutes a month, according to statistics from web measurement firm comScore — in other words, a blink of an eye compared to the six or seven hours that typical Facebook users spend on the site. While comScore’s traffic numbers suffer from a number of problems, including the fact that they don’t measure mobile usage, that still indicates a massive gap between Google+ and Facebook. And measuring mobile probably wouldn’t help Google+ much anyway, since its mobile apps still leave a lot to be desired.