Google+ population explodes to 10 million

Google+ population explodes to 10 million
The once-rare Google invitation button now is beginning to look ordinary
CNET/Stephen Shankland

(CBS/CNET/AP) - Google+, the search giant's latest attempt to get a foothold into the social networking part of the web, appears to be in the midst of a population explosion.

A statistical analysis by Paul Allen, founder of and chief executive of Facebook app maker, concludes that the Google+ population reached 7.3 million on Sunday, July 10, and likely will reach 10 million today.

And if Google keeps the Google+ invitation button active, as it has since Sunday, Allen expects Google+ to reach 20 million users by this weekend, he said in a Google+ post late Monday night.

"The user base is growing so quickly that it is challenging for me to keep up," Allen said.

According to CNET, a population of 10 million or 20 million is huge in absolute terms, especially given that the service is two weeks old today. But it pales to Facebook's 750 million, half of whom log in daily. Allen's statistics, though estimates, do provide evidence that there's demand for another sizable social network--and that Google isn't necessarily forever doomed to fail in trying to launch it.

Facebook and Google have been fierce competitors. Facebook more than any other company showed that new competitors could outdo Google in important online markets. Now, though, Google has shown that Facebook, too, can't take its incumbent power for granted.

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