back to article 170m people 'upgrade' to Google+, but how many stick around?

Google is still struggling to answer, publically at least, that thorny question of just how many people are actually engaged with its social network, which arrived around 10 months ago. But no matter! Mountain View claimed today that 170 million users had "upgraded" to Google+, which the Chocolate Factory has just applied a …


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  1. Atonnis


    ...'those people who were using Gmail and other Chocolate Factory services long before Google+ arrived, who may have had existing public profiles that they then used to take a quick look at Google's latest attempt to do social networking – but who never went back'...

    ...count me in on those. Google are trying so desperately to make their 'social networking' side a place for hipsters to 'hang out' but it's really a bit of a sad place to be.

    I've experienced so much hate and vituperation when I've said this before, but it's always from those people who were the types to sit there on BBS's back in the 80s-90s all evening and night. Those with nothing better to do than sit in their rooms not even really talking much, just tapping away on the screen imagining that they had a presence and social interaction because there was someone else at the other end of a phone line.

    All that this sort of social networking has revealed to me is that people really lack confidence and personal-interaction skills. It's given me huge levels of confidence in my everyday life, as it seems that I was never the shy, socially crippled boy compared to everyone else that I thought I was. It seems that, when compared to how others all act online, I'm a well-adjusted, confident, strong-minded individual. It's great!

    1. 1Rafayal

      Re: And...

      I couldn't resit replying to this one.

      With regards to your comment of: "..but it's always from those people who were the types to sit there on BBS's back in the 80s-90s all evening and night.."

      You don't really believe that do you?

      What about all those people who were not born in the 80's or even the 90's? You know, young people who don't share your concept of well-adjusted? But, instead, think that social networking is just a part of everyday life?

    2. llewton

      Re: And...

      what's your take on the personality and psychology of folk who post lengthy comments on lots of news stories?

    3. Eugene Crosser

      Re: And...

      Please get a downvote because I am one of these sad people who sat on (and ran) BBSes in the 80s and from whom you are experiencing hate and vituperation.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: And...


      1. frank ly

        Re: And...

        That's 'valedictorian'. (Or just 'dick' in some cases.)

      2. Jeff Fraser

        Re: And...

        Valedictorian of a school that does not teach punctuation, capitalization or the definition of a run-on sentence?

    5. Gav

      Re: And...

      I'm sure we are all very happy for you, Atonnis.

      While you've been analysing social networking to reach your revelations, I've been analysing posts on forums by those who make sweeping generalisations based on sub-standard, or non-existent data, in order to reinforce their own prejudices and consequently bolster their own self-image.

      I'm nowhere near reaching any conclusion I'd be happy to publish, but thank you for your post. I shall certainly quote it in my findings.

  2. johnnytruant

    I like Goop

    But then I have enough friends posting on there to make it worth using. The S/N ratio compared to FB and Twitter is excellent.

    I appreciate other people's milage may vary, just my experience.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like Goop

      I tried it but went back to Adult FriendFinder very quickly

  3. Gunda

    I got this new look on my page just now. The new interface is better than the old one certainly. But it still does not quite look beautiful or elegant. Nor is there anything that will make a Google Plus account a must have. It is time that Google figure out a way to solve real needs of people with Google Plus

  4. David Gosnell

    I tried it...

    ... but only one friend posts remotely regularly on it. I've consequently nicknamed it Georgle Plus. Anyone here who knows me well will probably work it out.

    No critical mass, ultimately.

  5. DJV Silver badge

    It's fantastic!

    I use it, oh, at least once every couple of months! Go Google+!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google, stop trying, it's useless!

    All those who are interested in social herding are already on Facebook. Those who aren't are not interested in any other form of it.

    I'm a long time Gmail user but I'm not interested at all in having a public profile and sharing every bit of my life on the Internet. Using your mail application I noticed the desperately jumping in my face blue Join Google+ button and the subtle placement of the link for adding an account in the exact same way where the sign out link has been for years, like hoping that I will inadvertently click on it. Oh, and let me warn you that I truly despise the fact that a public YouTube profile has been created for me without my authorization and without allowing me to delete it unless I give up my email account, the only thing that matters to me from Google.

    Come on, Google, ask me to pay for using mail but spare me from the rest of that rubbish.

    1. Audrey S. Thackeray

      Re: Google, stop trying, it's useless!

      Yep. They should have bought Facebook whenever it was they they could have.

      I think Google+ is a lot better than Facebook but I don't really want either and am only pushed toward Facebook because of the number of people I know who use that and nothing else.

      Mind you I used to have to use MySpace to keep in touch with a few people and I haven't been near that in years so these things can change but I am not expecting anything to unseat Facebook any time soon.

  7. Eugene Crosser

    "Upgrading is compulsory"

    I knew that Google is the current base of the Cybermen

  8. frank ly

    Oh My God!

    I set up a G+ 'presence' when it first became generally available, just to see what it was about. It looked clean and simple but I didn't take it any further. The thing about Facebook (it seemed to me) was that it was full of pointless crap from pointless people. (I do realise that it's up to me to create my own meaningful crap and share it with meaningful people; but I'm lazy).

    Just now, after reading this article, I clicked on my G+ button to see what was happening. I got a page (or about 5 page depths) of pointless crap from pointless people. I then had to find how to reduce this to zero, which I did after a while. What I could not get rid of was the list of 'Trending Items', so I had a look at one, a well known company related one.

    The first thing I saw (apart from a big news picture) was a response comment of "You're a c**t" (without asterisks).

    At last, Google has managed to emulate Facebook. They must be very proud.

  9. Ketlan

    '170m people 'upgrade' to Google+, but how many stick around?'

    An interesting question and one which it would be even more interesting to see answered regarding Facebook. I bet that guesstimated 800m users would be a tad smaller, particularly if inactive users were discounted.

    Note: 1 tad = a helluvalot

  10. Craigness


    Does anyone else see a similarity with Ubuntu Unity? And the chat bar on the right rings a few bells too.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    They can screw my email over hard if they want

    Facebook can do all the wacky stuff they want, but one important thing they can't touch is my email.

    When Google went through their temper tantrum about usernames, I yanked my G+ membership in a heartbeat and I am never going back, as long as my gmail account is my primary address. I've had enough people tell me "Cash? No, we need a real last name..." TYVM.

  12. Jeff 11

    Flushing ad money down the crapper

    Given how upturning familiar UIs tend to piss off more people than they placate, it seems way too soon to be doing anything with Plus after 7 months. But then given how it has no real user base, perhaps not. Perhaps Google should focus its efforts on bribing us webtards to start using it rather than endlessly churning its interface in the vain hope that it'll "get it right".

    It won't. The reason no-one uses it is because no-one uses it. Break out of that, and it may have a chance.

  13. bart


    Publicly splashing your real name across the internet as Google+ wants people to do in order to have an account doesn't bode well for any hope that Google actually has much concern for my privacy. I've used gmail from the beginning, along with other products. However, I've always been careful to manage what information goes where. G+, Fbook, or most other "social media" don't really interest me on so many levels, but public broadcast of my existence in general is definitely the deal breaker.

    Yes, I could use a fake name, like Santorum or Foamhead, but its just too confusing . . .

  14. Putonghua73

    Social networks

    I like Google+ but I do not intend to use it much longer. It's only because I do not have time that I haven't deleted my account. It's a solution looking for a problem. Want to discuss a specialist subject? It's called a BBS - now a forum. Plenty on the web with a critical mass. I'm a semi-regular for ones relating to travel, Chinese and iOS.

    Social network? Facebook. I rage-quitted FB last year and will never return due to all of the changes. All I want is a place to post my holiday pictures for friends and other tidbits, post to my friends walls and receive a news stream in chronological order from my friends. That's it!

    Google+ tried a different paradigm and tumbleweeds. I can see the appeal, but it feels more a niche interest than a critical mass of users. The sad part is that it is getting slowly more intrusive with Google+ posting what they believe is their important news in my stream, without the ability for me to filter it out.

    I'll stick to looking for a site where I can post my holiday pictures for friends / family (privacy filters), and forgo the social networking side. Not because I have feel there is anything intrinsically wrong with the medium - more I hate the way it is being misused by the companies which provide the service.

    Back to good old fashioned email and forums.

    1. A. Nervosa
      Thumb Up

      Re: Social networks

      I find a small Linux server and an installation of ZenPhoto accomplishes that quite nicely. You control your own content and if people don't like the fact that their comments aren't publicised to everyone they know then they can suck it down or f *ck off back to Facebook.

  15. Andrew Baines Silver badge


    Nah, don't use them.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Google?

      I have to admit I really don't see the need for people networks personally. I have a G+ account but haven't gone back since the day I set it up. I also started a Facebook account a few months ago to finally see what all the fuss was about and was amazed at the drivel that spewed forth from people I really don't see that often of really want to see. Plus the design and user interface is truly dire.

      I see quite a few of my friends face to face so to me most of it is a waste of time and I feel a poor excuse for not actually getting off your arse and meeting people or at least picking the phone up and calling them.

      After about two weeks trying and ignoring people I hadn't felt the need to speak to for five years (likewise for them) I shut it down.

      I'm not feeling any negatives at all.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many people registed for Facebook because someone tagged them in a picture?

    Surely the same applies?? (or perhaps not in El-Reg land)

    I registered on Facebook once because someone tagged me, and curiosity got the better of me, however once I realized how shit and creepy Facebook was, I never visited again, and set my spam filter to throw away Facebook email, as I really don't give a crap about what my friends ate for breakfast...

    Personally, I find Google+ alot better than Facebook ever was, the interface is alot slicker, and the quality of conversion better, I really like the local stuff and what's hot, and the games are better, the photo sharing is better, and it integrates with Android nicely, all my photos are backed up to G+ (but obviously not shared).

    I'm guessing just like MySpace fell from grace overnight, consumers will gradually discover the numerous benefits of G+ and move over too, and the more that move, the more than follow.

  17. greenfinch

    I can't even be bothered to log in and see what the changes look like

    Pretty much everything there last time I looked was feed-ins from FB and twitter, and thus redundant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can't even be bothered to log in and see what the changes look like

      It's OK, someone will post some screenshots somewhere so we can see how it looks like.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can't even be bothered to log in and see what the changes look like

        Probably on Reddit

  18. GreenJimll

    I'm one of those 170 million users and I do occasionally flick through G+ timeline on my phone to see what's happening with the few folk I follow there. But the fact that I got alerted to this Reg article by following a Twitter link might tell you something about my relative use of those two social networking systems. Twitter is part of my regular day-to-day net use, just like email. G+ is something I do at a loose end whilst waiting for a train when the Twitter feed is up to date.

    Having said that, I'm beginning to see more folks and importantly organisations mentioning that they have a presence on G+ recently. This may be a case of "covering all bases" with the same material being posted to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc or it could be more folk trying out G+ to see if it makes connecting with others easier/better/etc or it could just be a random blip and everyone will just carry on as before.

  19. EviL FazZ

    I upgraded

    Nearly a year ago, I 'upgraded' to Google+. It didn't take me long to see how much better it was (already using most of Google software/hardware products) and decided, I usually see my Facebook friends in real-life, so why keep using Facebook that I actually 'dislike'.

    I check my Facebook profile every month or so, but only check, never update or post. Google+, new on-line friends, new features, amazing integration with daily tools and life, but not new to change my life... it's one that just fits neatly and simply... and randomly seeing my 'decent' Facebook friends slowly join and actually staying logged in too. for those who don't... who cares, I'll either see them in real-life or leave them be sour lemons in their own 'blind' world!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I upgraded - Is this a copy&paste

      from some prepared statement ? I don't dispute your honesty but your post has a slightly distinctive smell of PR/marketing speak.

      1. EviL FazZ

        Re: I upgraded - Is this a copy&paste

        LMAO... 'PR/marketing speak'.... just because I like Google and their products and not 'Faeces'book. ...and no wrong again... never a 'prepared statement' or copied and pasted... because that's SO sad!

        Either way, there's enough space in the world for 'even' more than just two social networking websites, purely for options and variety. Whether we personally get all our immediate family and friends on once service is another story, which is just like anything else... main home OS, mobile OS, mobile signal providers, frequent shopping markets, electrical brands, clothing brands, stupid/pathetic petroleum driven vehicles... blarr blarr blarr ...etc etc []¬_¬]

  20. llewton

    i have an account but don't really use it much. deleted my facebook account years ago, this one will stay. i use lots of google's other services, so why not.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google + users

    I think 99% of Google + users are simply web designers or SEO types who signed up to use the service "plus-oned" all their sites and haven't been back since.

    I know that's what I did.

  22. roblightbody

    Tried it and then gave up

    I set it all up, and started using it enthusiastically, before a couple of months went by and I finally realised - only one other person I knew, was using it (and he didn't like it).

    I strongly dislike what Facebook is doing to the internet (people stopping using the www and putting everything 'inside' facebook, and a facebook login becoming mandatory to do anything on the internet) but I do continue to use it, because it efficiently lets me keep up to date with all sorts of people, all in once place.

  23. Semaj

    I saw the advert for it last night and to be honest, the UI does look snazzy and I like the idea that it's based around social circles.

    The thing is the ad is so sugar coated and clearly trying to tug heart strings that to anyone who has even the tiniest amount of cynicism it comes across as pathetic and more than a little creepy. Very much like the Chrome ad.

  24. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Dad dancing

    There is something deeply sad, deeply naff, about the idea of "hangouts". It sounds like a middle-aged man desperately trying to be down with the kids on the basis of what he remembers of Friends in the early nineties.

  25. James 100

    In related news, Sony have given Betamax an exciting new facelift! New shiny buttons to press!

    They really do have the same problem Betamax did against VHS, but with the handicap of being late to the party. DVDs had an uphill struggle to unseat VHS, for exactly that reason: why switch, when VHS is so entrenched? In the DVD's case, of course, there were a string of real advantages: better picture quality, no rewinding, more reliable media, more physically compact - so it actually worked. To unseat Facebook, G+ will have to become not just as good, not just better, but so much better than Facebook that people actually switch - and that's exactly what Buzz tried and failed to do with Twitter.

    Do the Wonkas really believe they've bet their ad company's future on out-Facebooking Facebook, or will G+ go the way of Buzz, Wave and the others in a year or so?

    (Of course, Facebook could park their tanks on Google's lawn, starting to do serious well-targeted ads on third-party sites like AdWords - probably Google's big long term fear, but do Facebook want to go that route?)

  26. LJRich

    Google+ vs. Facebook

    Facebook just announced 901 million active monthly users (up from 845m in Dec 2011) and a 41% jump in daily active users to 526 million.


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