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Google+ gets a traffic surge of 1269 percent

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If you’ve been thinking of trying out a new social network, you’re not alone. Google Plus has seen a sharp rise in traffic over the past week according to new data from Experian Hitwise.

Last week, right before the F8 conference, Google Plus was made open to the public and introduced a number of new features including stuff for Hangouts, Google Docs and some added search functions. Since then, Google’s star social networking service has seen a traffic surge of 1269 percent, with U.S. visits at 15 million—significantly trumping the paltry 1.1 million U.S. visits from the preceding week.

That data doesn’t even take into account mobile users, or those that wander over to Plus using the black bar. It’s not exactly clear what caused the spike, though its possible to draw a correlation from the drop of the invite feature or criticism over Facebook changes. Whatever the reason, Plus doesn’t seem to be going the way of Orkut anytime soon.

graphs don't lie

Currently, Hitwise is ranking Plus at number 8 in the Social Networking and Forums category, just behind MySpace and way up from its former spot at 54. ReadWriteWeb also points out that Paul Allen’s estimates have the Google Plus user count now at 43 million.

Further chipping at the rivalry with Facebook, CityVille, Zynga’s most popular game on Facebook has recently come to Google’s social networking site. Cityville currently has 72 million users.

Google also rolled out an interesting change for one of Plus’ main features, Circles. Similar to Twitter lists, now Google Plus users will be able to share separate circles of friends with others. A share link will pop on the Google+ Circles page, which will allow you to share with your friends. The new feature doesn’t allow others to see the title of the circle or if the circle creator updates members.

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Jeff Hughes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I'm a SF Bay Area-based writer/ninja that loves anything geek, tech, comic, social media or gaming-related.
Overdue: Google Reader to get design revamp, Google+ integration next week
google-reader

Well, it's about time. Google announced Thursday that it will be giving its Reader product a much-needed redesign. In addition, Google will added integration with its Google+ social network to make it easier for users to share stories with their Circles.
As part of the redesign, Google will also do a bit of house cleaning with Reader by retiring the current social features in the RSS reader, including friending, following and the sharing of links within Reader itself.
In an attempt to get out ahead of the user outrage that's commonplace anytime a company like Google or Facebook rolls out drastic changes to long-running products, Google says it will also make it possible for users who dislike the new setup to export their data, and move to a different RSS reader.
“We think the end result is better than what's available today, and you can sign up for Google+ right now to start prepping Reader-specific circles,” writes Alan Green, a software engineer at Google. “We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you. That's why we will also be extending Reader's subscription export feature to include the following items. Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.”
The items include subscriptions, shared items, friends, likes and starred items.
The update to Reader is due sometime next week. And if you ask me, it couldn't come soon enough. As someone who must constantly keep on up as much as possible, I am a fairly heavy Reader user (but by no means the heaviest, for sure), with a few hundred websites programmed into my subscription list. When Google+ launched this summer, one of my first thoughts while testing out the new social network was how great it would be to have Reader integration. And pretty soon, Reader began to feel out-of-date entirely – but still the best option around.
In other words, I could not be more excited for the update. So I likely won't be one of the people packing up all my data and heading for the door. Unless, of course, Google completely screws things up, which is always a possibility. But I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic about this until the day comes.

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Google+ traffic continues to drop, down as much as 70%

 
On Monday we reported that Google+ traffic had dipped 60 percent since its public launch on September 20, but traffic might be even lower than first reported. Chitika Insights, the research arm of online ad service Chitika, just released some updated traffic numbers that show Google+ traffic down as much as 70 percent since September 20. Google just announced that Google+ has 40 million users, and that, “People are flocking to Google+ at an incredible rate”. It seems that people might be flocking to the site, but they aren’t nesting.
 
The report states, “we saw a prolonged and sustained downward trend in overall activity coming from the site. At its greatest, the gap between peak and trough measured over a 70% decline in traffic. No one can know for sure why Google+ isn’t able to keep people coming back to the site, but there are plenty of people who think they know why traffic is slipping.
 
Unfortunately for Google one person who weighed in on the subject was one of their own engineers, Steve Yegge. Yegge’s blog post outlines the key reasons he feels that Google+ isn’t meeting expectations. The main reasons Yegge cites is that Google+ wasn’t launched with an API, and because Google+ does not have enough ways for users to waste their time on the site. Facebook has all sorts of applications that draw people to the site, and even if people do not want to be social they will still come to Facebook to check on their farm in Farmville. It seems as though Google+ is slowly adding the features that Yegge would like to see, and hopefully over time Google+ will see an increase in return visitors.
 
With 40 million users Google+ is clearly on the right track, and we all know Google isn’t going to give up on the product so it will keep growing. The real question becomes how long will it take before it really starts to rival Facebook?

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Google engineer: Google+ is ‘a pathetic afterthought’
steve_yegge-Google+

Google engineer and well-known blogger Steve Yegge last night published a poignant 4,550-word rant lambasting his employer for mishandling Google+ (and a variety of other things, as well). Thing is, the epic screed, which was actually published on Google+, was only meant to be seen by other Google employees, but Yegge forgot to disable the “public” sharing option, and released it for everyone to see. (Face, meet palm.) He later deleted the post, but it has been re-published, with permission from Yegge, here.
While the first chunk of the rant focuses on how Amazon (where Yegge worked for six years) became the platform powerhouse that it is today, the primary gist of Yegge's well-written and informative manifesto is that Google+ will not succeed because it is not a platform for which third-party developers can create products; it's simply the product itself.
It is because Facebook is that kind of platform that has helped make it so successful; Facebook got a bunch of other people to think of good ideas, do the hard programming work, and implement them in the site. Google, on the other hand, is trying to control every aspect of Google+, and that will be what kills the company's first sudo-successful attempt at social networking
We highly recommend reading through the full post, but here are the most damning bits, in case you're short for time:

“The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought. We had no API at all at launch, and last I checked, we had one measly API call."

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