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Are There Already Half As Many Users On Two-Week Old Google+ As There Are On Twitter?

According to some preliminary estimates, Google+ membership will explode past 10 million sometime today.

That’s 10 million users who’ve signed up in just two weeks.

Now, Twitter touts the fact that it has well over 200 million (and probably more than 300 million) registered users, but in terms of active users, like most of the new signups for Google+ undoubtedly are, the number is likely much less. Think about 10x less… meaning Google+ may have amassed about half of Twitter’s user base in only two weeks.

The analysis of Google+’s growth comes from Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com. And, of course, it’s posted to Google+.

Allen has used a model based on the number of users in Google+ with certain surnames. Here’s an explanation in his own words:

“I start with US Census Bureau data about surname popularity in the U.S., and compare it to the number of Google+ users with each surname. I split the U.S. users from the non-U.S. users. By using a sample of 100-200 surnames, I am able to accurately estimate the total percentage of the U.S. population that has signed up for Google+. Then I use that number and a calculated ratio of U.S. to non-U.S. users to generate my worldwide estimates. My ratio is 1 US user for every 2.12 non-U.S. users. That ratio was calculated on July 4th through a laborious effort, and I haven’t updated it since. That is definitely a weakness in my model that I hope to address soon. The ratio will likely change over time.”

There are definitely flaws in this methodology as Allen points out, but he has done a fantastic job of getting as close as he can to the real number of users on Google+ – especially since Google hasn’t released any of this information.

In his post early Tuesday morning, Allen said that Google+ users had numbered 7.3 million on July 10th, up from 1.7 million on July 4th. And the exponential growth that the invitation button has caused will see this number surge past 10 million today… and could reach 20 million by the weekend.

Now, compare this to Twitter.

Twitter has been available to the public for over 5 years. It had a much slower start than Google+, but that’s because of the size of Twitter at the time it launched compared to Google now. Twitter was a small startup with next to no funding; Google is a multi-billion-dollar internet behemoth.

However, over the last 5 years, Twitter has gained much media attention and has attracted notable users from the ranks of the celebrities, sports stars, politicians and other icons throughout the world.

But despite this growth in awareness, Twitter still hasn’t broken through into the mainstream in terms of actual use.

Twitter may claim that there are more than 200 million registered users on Twitter, but as anyone who signed up only to ditch the service shortly after knows, a registered account is not the same as an active account. As we reported back in April, Twitter may actually have less than 21 million active users.

And if that’s the case, not only does Google+ have half as many users as Twitter does active users right now, but it may surpass Twitter in less than a week.

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