Google+ Site Visits Skyrocket and Lots of New Features For Hangouts

By September 27, 2011
Usage increases

The new social networking site attracted a much more diverse audience after it opened itself to the public. New features on its video chat service emphasize creativity and business usage.

Last week Google opened up its social network Google+ from invite only to open for everyone. This triggered a spike of new visitors, nearly 15 million in the week ending on September 24, bringing Google+ from rank 54 to 8 in Hitwise's Social Networking and Forums Web site category.

Hitwise remarks that opening Google+'s gates to the Internet public has stimulated its development from "Innovator" or "Early Adopter" phases, which it was cycling through since its launch in early July to what could be "Early Majority," as is shown from analysis of visitors to the site. The audience composition of this social network has so far been primarily made up of early adopters and tech savvy types, further categorized by Mosiac USA 2011 Types.

In addition to "Influencers”, “Early Adopters," Mosaic USA includes more colorful types such as the internet-savvy “Bohemian Groove”, “Gotham Blend” and “Progressive Potpourri.” Early Adopters still account for a large share of Google+’s traffic, but last week other types visited, showing a sign of potential diversification. Visit share from “Hispanic Harmony”, “Platinum Prosperity” and “Striving Single Scene" all showed a sharp increase. Apart from Platinum Prosperity, these types are from the lower or middle income profile, evidence that Google+ "may be shifting into the 'Early Majority' stage."

Along with public sign up, Google+ introduced some new features, many of which surround video chat tool Hangouts. Hangout support is now available for mobile devices, so Android devices can now use video chat and iOS will in the near future. "On Air" for Hangouts allows any Google Plus user to watch a Hangout without being included in the video stream. Screensharing, shared sketchpads and title names all are now available for this tool. There will also be Google Docs support within the video chat service, which ReadWriteWeb refers to as "perhaps the killer app... which will open up the possibility of live collaborative work (especially once Google Apps accounts get access)."

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