Google+ was launched on June 28th, 2011. It may be still too early to make authoritative predictions about the future of the site, one way or the other. The site continues to make several tweaks to its social networking aspects. It wants to increase its focus on features that will make it easier for businesses to join the social network.
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Myspace Growth Trends
Myspace was launched in August of 2003, and exactly eight years later in August 2011, it had 33.1 million unique visitors in the United States. From 2005 until the first quarter of 2008, Myspace had the highest number of monthly visitors among all social networking sites. In June 2006, Myspace became the most visited website in the U.S., surpassing Google.
However, in the second quarter of 2008, Facebook overtook Myspace in the number of unique visitors around the globe. By May 2009, Facebook had surpassed Myspace in the number of unique visitors in the U.S. Since then, the number of unique visitors to Myspace has been on a steady decline, several re-designs notwithstanding. In September 2011, Myspace was ranked in 91st position in terms of the total web traffic.
Now Myspace no longer competes with Facebook, they even have an alliance. Myspace does not consider itself a social networking site anymore, instead it is more of a personal website space. Communicating on Facebook is far easier, using Myspace was always a chore and it was cluttered with annoying advertisements. Many people wondered why Myspace did not make it was easier for a user to send a simple email.
Facebook Growth Trends
Facebook was launched in February 2004, and it reached the one million mark the same year in December. Over the next two years, the number of active users rose quickly and stood at 12 million in December, 2006. The 100 million mark was breached in less than two years in August 2008. In July 2010, Facebook reached over 500 million active users, and in July 2011, the number of active users stood at 750 million.
LinkedIn Growth Trends
Lauched in May 2003, this professional networking site had more than 120 million registered users across 200 countries in March 2011. A report by Quantcast says that LinkedIn has 21.4 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S. and 47.6 million globally. The number of unique visitors in June 2011 stood at 33.9 million, which represents an increase of 63 percent from last year.
Google+ Growth Prospects
In August 2011, Google+ already had more than 25 million users, as per the data collected by analytics firm comScore, making Google+ the fastest growing website in history. Research trends show that the network, which was launched in late June 2011, is currently growing at a rate of one million users per day.
Do these buoyant initial reports indicate that Google+ is going to dominate the social networking sector very soon? That would be a premature conclusion to draw. When comparing the rapid initial growth of Google+ against the relatively gradual initial growth path of other social networks such as Facebook and Myspace, it must be remembered that now social networking has already come of age. Users are increasingly more willing to jump onto social networks, which should explain the rapid initial advances of Google+.
Another factor in favor of Google+ is its massive existing user base that gives it a major head start. It provides the plugged-in generation the opportunity to make a digital fresh start. Early growth is anyway not a guarantee to lasting success. Myspace took only two years to hit 25 million users, while Twitter reached that figure in two-and-a-half years, and Facebook took full three years to make that mark. Now Myspace is practically out of the reckoning, and is hoping for the star power of Justin Timberlake to resurrect it. Whether Google+ will outperform Facebook or go the Myspace way is a question that is still waiting to be answered.
Facebook has a wonderful story behind it and is incredible in its simplicity. But there is nothing like some healthy competition.