Google+ Gains on Facebook

Google+ picking up speed alongside social network giant Facebook as it attracts a large flood of traffic to its service, which opened up to the general public this week.

Google+ recorded just over 2.5 million web visits in the U.S. with Tuesday’s open launch, according to data from Experian Hitwise, up seven times from the average 321,000 daily visitors to the site after its invitation-only opening in late June.

The respectable traffic from its broad opening this week was fuelled primarily by the search giant’s own popularity. Google’s normally plain home page began featuring a large arrow “doodle,” inviting people to join Google+ with a click on the provided link. The doodle promotion was responsible for directing 59 per cent of the social network’s traffic on the first day of its wide launch.

Compared to Facebook, Google+’s first-week figures are still tiny, even accounting for the initial day’s traffic spike. Facebook had 72 times more U.S. visits the same day, the online advertising company said.

The general opening of Google+ also coincided with several new announcements from its Facebook rival, which hosted its f8 conference this week in San Francisco.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage to reveal significant revisions to its interface, now called “Timeline,” which automatically lays out user activities — such as pictures and posts — like a digital scrapbook, saying the moves are intended to completely rethink the heart of the Facebook experience.

Facebook’s new features may have taken a bit of the spotlight off of Google+, just as the Mountain View, Calif.-based company attempts to get its service off the ground. Facebook’s new updates, with an emphasis on customisation and real-time information, may be exactly what it takes to maintain its favourable lead.

Google+ is in its infancy, but as Experian’s figures illustrate, it has the power of its search engine, which may help propel the fledgling social network. Getting the people to the site will be a key first step, but then it will be up to Google+, and its own set of features, to keep them there.

The online advertising company’s figures doesn’t include Web visits from mobile devices, mobile apps or from users on the Google+ “notification bar,” so more comprehensive user and traffic data in the coming weeks will arrive next week.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.

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