Despite early signs that Google+ could go the way of Google’s numerous failed attempts at social media, Web analytics tracker Experian Hitwise calculates that the network saw its traffic increase by 55 percent in December, reports Harrison Weber at The Next Web. By Experian’s count, Google+ enjoyed more than 49 million unique US visitors during the month.
The jump in traffic should come as no surprise; late last month, Ancestry.com founder Paul Allen, who has kept a close watch on Google+ stats since its launch this past summer, estimates that Google+ now has more than 62 million users as of December 25. If the site can continue its current growth rate of 625,000 new users per day, Allen predicts the number of Google+ users could reach more than 100 million by the end of February, and over 400 million by the end of this year.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Google+ benefits from its widespread integration across Google’s other properties. The recent surge in traffic follows further incorporation with Google Reader and Gmail, which likely played a role in the visitor surge.
Of course, Google+ continues to wallow in the shadow of Facebook, which has made significant traffic gains over the past two years. According to Nielsen, Facebook is, on average, only about 16,000 monthly visits behind Google.com, with 137,644 unique US visitors per month, which makes it the second most-visited website in the world.
Google has so far remained mum on its Google+ traffic numbers, so all of these stats should remain in the realm of estimation. But the writing is apparently on the wall: Google+ isn’t going anywhere but up anytime soon.