Tomorrow, it will be exactly a month sinceGoogle+ was first unveiled.
In that short amount of time, they’ve managed to sign up well north of 10 million users, which is amazing. Of course, the easiest path to tens of million of users is to start with hundreds of millions of users.
Just ask Buzz or Wave. Still, kudos to Google — phase one of G+ was clearly a success.
Now comes the hard part. Keeping those users around and engaged. Some numbers today released by Experian Hitwise suggest that Google+ has already started to experience the sophomore slump. For the week ended July 23 (last week), their data says that traffic decreased 3 percent versus the previous week. It’s important to note that this data is U.S.-only, and that Google+ is still technically in limited beta (though it’s easy to get an invite now). Still, the trend is the important thing: traffic is down week to week.
While it’s totally circumstantial, my own observations and usage seem to support this data as well. After initially checking it several times a day, I now load Google+ about twice a day, mainly to see if I’m missing anything. I rarely find that I am. I +1 a few things here and there, maybe leave a comment. But overall, the content feels fairly stale. Almost everything shared remains about Google (or worse, Google+ itself). And even though I have nearly 1241 people in my circles, very few seem to be sharing anything in any sort of limited fashion with me.
As a “power user”, I know that I’m a bit of a weird use case when it comes to sharing. But others I’ve talked to in the past couple weeks have had similar observations. Google+ started off with a bang — a big one. Part of it was the new car smell, but a bigger part was that expectations were so low for what Google would come up with in the social space (their own doing). When Google exceeded those expectations, people were genuinely surprised. And that also spurred usage. There was a sense of excitement: Could this really be the next big social network?
But now things are calming down. The new car smell is wearing off. And it’s time for reality.