Google+ Passes Twitter to Become Second Largest Social Network, Study Finds

By Devon Glenn 

Google+ has surpassed Twitter in the number of active users to become the number two social platform, according to a study by the GlobalWebIndex.

To come up with the numbers, the analysts compared internet users in 31 markets who have used or contributed to a social network in the past month. In December 2012, Google+ grew by 27 percent to 343 million active users, accounting for 25 percent of the global internet population.

Google’s social network is still smaller than Facebook’s, where the number of monthly active users grew 33 percent to 693 million, making up 51 percent of the internet population.  By the researchers’ calculations, the network has 903 million accountholders in all, which is not far behind Facebook’s reported 1 billion users.

But Google’s other socially connected product, YouTube, now attracts 21 percent of the active users on the internet, making it the third largest social network. (The GlobalWebIndex did not include the video sharing site in previous studies.) Combined with Google+, 46 percent of the population is now actively using a Google product for social networking.

This also puts Twitter behind Facebook, Google+, and YouTube as the fourth largest social media site.

With a 40 percent increase in December, activity on Twitter has grown faster than it has on any other network. But the microblogging site is still behind the others at 288 million monthly active users.  Right now, 21 percent of internet users around the world are using Twitter on a monthly basis.

Even more surprising was the inspiration site Pinterest, which trailed behind LinkedIn, MySpace, and Badoo in terms of activity. These social platforms shared the top 25 slots with networks that are popular in China, like Tencent and Sina Weibo.

Are you actively using Google+? Let us know in the comments.

Image by Mira Bavutti Deganello.