It’s a numbers game for social networks. And while Facebook is still king of the hill, there’s one competitor that might soon overtake the leading social network. Google+ has reportedly climbed the social ladder, so to speak, and has taken the second place, with 343 million active users as of fourth quarter of 2012. This is about half of Facebook’s 693 million active users (out of 903 million accounts).
This data comes from a recent report from the Global Web Index, which has also determined that another Google product is fast catching up on the social action. YouTube is at #3 spot, with 300 million users.
Facebook still gives you the biggest network, and most people engage on Facebook because that’s where their friends are already connecting and sharing. But observers say the main benefit of Google+ is its tight integration with Google’s other services. Even YouTube is tightly integrated into Google Plus, which means the two social networks’ (yes, YouTube is considered one) users intersect at some point.
Design would also be one advantage that Google+ has over Facebook. Many users would complain of Facebook’s dubious privacy settings, as well as its clunky interface. On the other hand, users praise Google+ for its user experience and the fact that Google does not have the need to slap ads or sponsored posts in your face just to monetize its platform.
Add to this Google’s excellent mobile app development. The Google+ app is said to be “enjoyable to use,” apart from being easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.
Google+ did not exactly gain traction early on, and the social network even faced criticisms for its difficulty in reaching user milestones. But look where the service is now. It took Facebook six years to reach the 300 million mark — a feat that Google+ took only 18 months to accomplish.
What’s in store for the #2 social network? Perhaps reaching #1 would be the next target in its sights.