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Forecast: Google+ to Overtake Facebook by 2016

by Shashank Bhardwaj

As impossible as it may sound, Google+ might just overtake Facebook in terms of number of users by 2016. At least, that’s what Searchmetrics would like us to believe. An analysis of the two social networks forecasts that Google’s social network will have more number of users than Facebook by February 2016.

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In a blog post on their site, Searchmetrics has pointed out that while Google+ is behind Facebook in terms of absolute number of users, it is growing at a much more rapid rate than Facebook ever has. Since Facebook already has a much larger base of users, it is growing at a smaller pace. But Google+ has a relatively smaller base of users. Thus it achieves a much higher rate of growth.

Searchmetrics also pointed out how Google’s tactics contribute to Google+’s growth. For example, activating an Android smartphone mandatorily requires a Google+ account. With 900+ million activations by early this year, that’s a lot of Google+ accounts coming right from Android. This translates to a growth of more than 100% with the 400 million user base last year. Most other products of Google come bundled together with a single Google account. If you have a Gmail account, for example, you do not need to do much to join Google+. All this further supports Google+ growth.

However, the blog post conceded that Facebook is far ahead of Google+ in terms of user engagement. Most people do not use their Google+ accounts. Facebook users on the hand, tend to spend a lot more time on the site.

the activity of users on the Google network is much more behind… Concerning both absolute numbers of social signals and the activity of users, Facebook is seemingly indisputably ahead.

Comparing percentage growth rates for the two networks over the past 6 months, the analysis saw Facebook grow by 10% per month in the US, while Google+ grew by 19% per month. At this rate, the forecast projected Google+ overtaking Facebook by February 2016.

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What do you feel about Google+ being the biggest social networking giant? Let us know in the comments below.

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