Google’s newest attempt to build a social network loses traffic every week, according to a report released by Experian Hitwise.
Despite Google+ growing at an abnormally fast pace, gaining 10 million users since it opened a month ago, the application once touted as a “Facebook killer” dropped 3 percent in traffic since last week. (RELATED: Fox limits online streaming to paying subscribers)
Time spent on Google+ also dropped 10 percent, with the average visitor spending five minutes and fifteen seconds. That’s barely half the time the same visitor spends on Facebook — 9.3 minutes per day, according to estimates from 2010.
So far, Google+ offers services largely similar to Facebook’s: sharing on a public forum, tagging people in posts and pictures, and so forth. Although Google+ deviates from the Facebook model in significant ways — its “circles” could be seen as a solution to Facebook’s privacy issues, and “hangout” allows users to videoconference with up to ten people at once — those differences seem to have very little impact on user retention.
Moreover, the business prospects for Google+ seem to be faltering: TechCrunch notes that traffic referred from Google+ is dropping, at least for them. “And that’s with the overall network supposedly growing,” they muse. “Part of that may be Google’s own fault. They really screwed up the brand situation. They even gutted one of our employees who just wanted to share content.”
In fact, Google+ has been remarkably uneven in the way it engage users from the average Joe to the multinational corporation. In the past three weeks, companies and blogs that set up promotional pages suddenly found their pages taken down, while others such as Ford, Mashable and Sesame Street were allowed to keep their up until public pressure forced them offline.