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TECHNOLOGY Google+ : One year on

The social network site has a lot of potential, but not enough friends

By Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor
June 26, 2012

Dubai: Google+, the social network site, has attracted 170 million users since it was launched a year ago, according to Bradley Horowitz, who oversees product management for the project. But some are questioning the internet company’s numbers and popularity.

“I question what methodology they used to come up with the number 170 million users,” said Matt J. Duffy, assistant professor of communication at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. “I simply don’t see many people on Google+… I check it occasionally and I see very few people adding content….Officially, I am one of the 170 million people using Google+, but I don’t bother sharing anything because so few people use it regularly. I think that is the issue.”

Duffy, who teaches journalism, ethics and media law, added: “People go to Twitter every day to check what is being said there. People go to Facebook to check what is being said there, but I don’t think anybody goes to Google+ every day to see what is being said there.”

Google+, Duffy continued, “could certainly one day turn around their social networking site. They probably will come up with solution that attracts large numbers of people. They have a lot of content products to use as leverage -- YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs ... they certainly have the opportunity to make Google+ more popular. It just isn’t very popular right now.”

Google officials say Google+ offers more privacy than its competitors, by providing ‘circles’ which “helps people define what they want, to whom they want”. Other features of Google+ include ‘hangouts’ where users have the chance to chat with up to ten people without scheduling a meeting and the ability to pop in and out of video hangouts when you’re online. “We don’t only see great usage, but also great engagement,” Horowitz said.

Horowitz admitted that there is always room for improvement and “there is more to come”. He noted that since its establishment, scores of improvements were introduced on the product. He noted that while some social networks had a “flat growth” for many years before going up, G+ had a high growth since the beginning, he noted.

According to Google officials, “G+ has over one billion items shared and received in a single day,” and more than one million Google+ Pages have been created” since it was established.

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