Google+ enjoyed explosive growth immediately after its much-hyped launch, signing up more than 10 million users in just a few weeks. But now, just one month after its debut, the fledgling social network is already losing momentum. According to Hitwise, Google+ traffic fell by 3 percent in the week that ended July 23, and the average time visitors spent on the site fell by 10 percent, to 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Is Google's latest attempt to break into social media fizzling already?
Google+ is not living up to expectations: Google+ made a huge splash because people wanted to see whether the internet search giant had come up with the "next big social network," says MG Siegler at TechCrunch. "But now things are calming down. The new car smell is wearing off. And it's time for reality." The content people are exchanging via Google+ "feels fairly stale," so users don't have "a compelling reason for coming back" once they've signed up.
"Sophomore slump? One month in, Google+ sees a traffic minus"
Hold on. Google+ is hardly doomed: Hitwise itself says "this is not a huge drop," says Matt Peckham at TIME. And this tiny slip doesn't take into account mobile or third-party app traffic, so it might not even be a dip in traffic at all. "That said, Google+ faces an arduous and lengthy all-out-war" to topple Facebook. So "buckle up" — there's a long, "bumpy ride" from Google+'s less than 20 million users to Facebook's 750 million.
"Is Google+ momentum slowing? Report says visitors spent less time on site"
But Google's self-inflicted wounds aren't helping: Google has faced "massive criticism" for its username policy, says Molly McHugh at Digital Trends, which forces people to use their real names, and "bars anonymous handles." Google has also taken heat for "its slow response to loud cries for business pages." Without "these blunders," Google+'s traffic might still be soaring.
"Report of Google+ traffic dive lacked key data"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- 10 things you need to know today: July 31, 2014
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
Subscribe to the Week