Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/18/google_plus_usage/

Google+ claims 100 million 'active' users

Buys Instagram rival for social network platform destination site

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Applications, 18th September 2012 12:16 GMT

Google has claimed that it now has 100 million active monthly users of its social networking site that it continues to insist isn't actually a social network.

Google+ has had 400 million signups since it launched in 2011, but only a quarter of that figure are apparently engaged regularly with it. Sadly, the company didn't provide any meaty breakdowns of those metrics.

The company's senior engineering veep Vic Gundotra said:

This week we ... hit an important milestone - over 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+. It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. And here too, I’m happy to report that we have just crossed 100,000,000 monthly active users on Google+ (plus.google.com and mobile app).

For Reg readers seeking context, Google claimed a few months back that it now has 425 million active users of Gmail, meaning it added an impressive 75 million people between January and June this year.

At the start of 2012, Google quietly began opting every new user signing up to Gmail directly into Google+. After the event, users are given the option of deleting their public profile and associated page on the network critics continue to describe as a "ghost town".

However, it's not immediately obvious to new Gmailers who - upon signup - are prompted with a welcome to Google+ message that fails to explain how users not interested in publicly sharing their eating, sleeping and porn habits on the network can delete the profile and page permanently.

It's easy enough to do once anyone actively uses Google+: they simply have to click on their profile pic, select Account, scroll to the bottom of that page and then blast Google+ into oblivion.

Sadly, the ad and search giant isn't telling the world how many people are actually doing that. But it does appear to be saying that the vast majority of Gmailers - or 400 million people - now have some form of presence, however ghostly, on Google+. That leaves 25 million users who have, one way or another, altogether shunned the network.

In related Google+ news, the company confirmed on Monday it had bought German outfit Nik software – which is perhaps best known for its Snapseed Apple iOS photo application – for an undisclosed sum. It's a move that mirrors Facebook's recent acquisition of Instagram and shows that Google is continuing to try to beef up its non-social social network that is actually a "platform" and a "destination".

In July, Google+'s mission creep into Gmail continued when Mountain View ditched its peer-to-peer video chat feature and slotted its Google+ Hangouts function into its web email service. ®