One of the more frequently asked questions, yet still somewhat unanswered, is why Google Plus execs won’t talk about active, daily users. At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week, Google held a special press roundtable, and while the discussion was relentlessly upbeat, co-founder Sergey Brin and SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra wouldn’t answer any specific on its user metrics.
Specifically people are curious how many of the over 40 million users who have reportedly signed up for Google Plus, are active on the networking site? The most reporters could get was that Google is very happy with the number and continuously turned the conversation to engagement levels and Google’s plan to integrate the service across all of its products.
What Gundotra did speak to was the fact that many peep are “coming back” to Google, meaning that users who signed up early and perhaps have not been active because their friends and family were not yet signed up, are returning now that the user base has grown.
The main focus of this discussion panel revolved around Google’s strategy to re-engage people, which Gundotra explained was extremely unique to Google. “We have the unique ability to cause re-engagement as our [social] graph grows,” said Gundotra, “Most companies don’t have that capability.”
“With Google Plus,” continued Gundotra, “we’ve now started taking some of the most basic things you need in an identity platform and we’re making them common across all Google services. So if you define a family circle in Google Plus, that will get applied across all other Google services – search, maps, YouTube and more.” That’s just one example, noted Gundotra. “When we’re done Google is going to come across as a beautiful, integrated set of services.”
If I simply look at my own Google Plus profile I can see that while new people follow me everyday, it is only people within the social media, technology or media industry, not one of my friends outside of work has joined. And even those users are not what I would consider overly active. While Google may have a grande plan to re-engage the masses, right now the product just doesn’t seem to be as achieve as they may have us believe.