Google's making its Google+ user engagement sound like a bonanza success story, but is it really as great as the company suggests? On yesterday's earning call, Google released some positive numbers for its social network. CEO Larry Page led the earnings call with his Google+ glee, saying he is "super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally." He then went on for a few more sentences about the social network creating "amazing experiences" and "meaningful relationships." Unlike other times Google has released user stats, Page emphasized engagement, meaning these people actually use G+ accounts. "I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: +users are very engaged with our products--over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly," continued Page. But, wait, having a Google+ profile and then using other Google products, like say, the super popular search or Gchat doesn't count.
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This is quite the loose definition of engagement. Google makes it super easy for any Google product user to sign up for the social network, as we've noted before. It also makes it easy to stay signed in on Google+, while not really using the social network. For example, we might fall into that 60 percent that signs in daily and then uses other Google services, as we open our Gmails every morning and sit on chat all day while pretending to work. That does not count as engagement, as we never open our G+ pages, unless we do some accidental clicking.
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Of course, we can't argue with the user growth. 90 million is a big number, even bigger than Google+ enthusiast Paul Allen predicted a few weeks ago. He had pegged it at 62 million "users." But, since its debut, Google has provided more entry points into the service. Just the other week Google integrated the social network into search. And only Google+ members benefited from these new features, something other social networks didn't appreciate because it gave preference to G+.