Google+ may be one of the most frequently insulted social networks, but according to Google, its user base is nothing to scoff at. In recent months the social network has seen a massive increase in users and has now broken past 300 million.
In May, that number was just 190 million, showing just how fast Google+ has grown. While Facebook is still in a league of its own (with more than a billion users), Google+ may actually be “larger” than Twitter, since its user base is struggling to hit the 300 million mark.
However, there is a big difference between registered users and consistently active users, and as a result, Twitter is probably the more popular social network.
Alongside its 300 million user announcement, Google revealed a new video service allowing users to put together videos which will create an “archive of your life” according to Google+ Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz.
For the most part, the entire Google event was about Google+’s photo and video improvements. Not only is there a new video editing and publishing aspect to Google+, but new photo editing features were also introduced.
Despite touting Google+’s milestone as being one of its largest accomplishments, Google does not seem interested in creating the largest social network available, nor does it want to beat out Facebook. Instead, Google wants to have as many users as possible so that it can authenticate people using its various services, whether they be YouTube, Search, or Gmail.
Authentication has become a large part of YouTube and while it is not a requirement, new users are almost automatically provided a Google+ account. Based upon reports from last year, it appears as though Google wants to integrate Google+ into YouTube as much as possible and eventually require people to use their real names instead of a username.
Of course the other side to Google+’s achievement is the way that it helps Google serve ads. By building up a social network that collects even more user data than Google previously had, Google Adwords becomes a more attractive ad network for its clients.
It is unlikely that Google+ will become a dominant social network anytime soon–and it only takes a few minutes on the network to see why–but its 300 million user achievement is something worth talking about.
Google already has access to more user information than most online services and expanding Google+ will only build upon that, whether it is a good thing or not.