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Google+ Hits 50 Million Users, Adds Circle Sharing

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Many brands have been impatiently waiting for Google to unveil Google+ business profiles. Now there's more news that should make marketers even more eager: Google’s social network has hit an estimated 50 million users, partially thanks to a surge in use after Plus opened to the public.

Google is "close" to unveiling the profiles, Advertising Age reports, which will allow companies to create a page and circles, which also includes access to a newly announced feature that lets you share your Google+ circles.

Google+’s 50 Million Mark

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Estimates show that Google+ hit the 50 million mark over the weekend, according to Paul Allen. While Allen’s estimates have a noteworthy margin of error, he makes a good argument for why his statistical analysis is roughly correct.

“It is possible that my U.S. - non-U.S. ratio is off slightly,” says Allen. “And it is possible that my 15% fudge factor for private profiles and for non-Roman characters could be way off.”

That said, he has taken pains to demonstrate how his methodology – which looks at the occurrence of rare last names – yield on-target results, even if he can’t pinpoint the user count. According to his estimates, the site boomed from 43.4 million users on September 22nd to over 50 million on September 25th. The reason boils down to Google+ being opened to the public.

Hitwise showed a similar boom; according to their analysis, Plus saw a 1,200% increase in traffic after it opened its doors to all users. Hitwise has yet to respond to an inquiry on whether this examines the front page or all pages, but I would assume they’re referring to the plus.google.com page itself.

In any case, it’s evident that Google is getting a rush of users now that it’s not invite-only; Allen suggests that there has been a 4 percent daily growth, equating to about 2 million user registrations each day since the public launch.

Circles Are Now Shareable

Getting all those new users is a big deal for Google, but the company’s innovation continues to focus on connecting those users. Changes to Circles, the feature that lets users divide their contacts into heavily curated groups, allow greater manipulation of those circles – including the option to share them.

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The new feature can be found in the Circles menu. Just click on the circle you want to share, click the “share this circle” option, and choose who you want to share it with.

You can share a circle with your other circles, with individuals, or even share it publicly. While the share will reveal who is in your circle, most privacy concerns are addressed: the name of the circle isn’t shared, nor are future updates.

The feature is designed to help users share topic-based circles, allowing friends and other contacts to benefit from the contact hunting and circle curation you’ve done.

Although Google+ isn't open to businesses and brands, that doesn't mean you can't develop a strategy. Here are five tips to help marketers get ready for Google+.


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