Tech journalists who write about Google+ tend to focus on the number of active users on the network, continually overlooking Google's influence on the Internet, which is actually all tied together via Google+ itself (see Figure 3).
Figure 3 Google's product lineup.
Let's look at a few important statistics:
- Gmail currently has over 350 million active users of its email service.
- Google Apps has over 40 million active users, with over 4 million businesses currently utilizing the service for its employees.
- YouTube accounts for over 30 million visitors a day. I was told by a manager of developer relations at Google that in 2008, YouTube went down for a few hours because of a technical bug in the system. During that time, Internet traffic worldwide dropped by nearly 52%.
- Currently Android accounts for over 52% of all smartphones in the world, holding nearly 800,000 mobile activates every day.
- According to a Hitwise report in October 2011, Google accounted for nearly 66% of all searches online. The next closest competitor was Bing-powered search, at 28%. (That's not Bing.com, which accounts for only 13%, but search engines to which Microsoft has licensed Bing technology.)
Now, if you take all of these statistics and combine them with the idea that Google+ will be the glue that binds together all of their products and services, you begin to see the sheer magnitude of Google's visible presence on the Internet as a whole. While Facebook has an impressive number of users, it ultimately pales in comparison to how many people utilize Google products every day, hour, and second that they're online.