How Good Are Those Google Plus Numbers Again?

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The longer tech industry watchers chew over the numbers that Google CEO Larry Page gave on last week's earnings conference call, the worse the aftertaste seems to get. Rocky Agrawal calls attention to the key Page quote about the site's supposed 90 million users:

"Over 60 percent of Google+ users use Google products on a daily basis. Over 80 percent of Google+ users use Google products every week."

Unless we're misinterpeting what 'Google product' is, these numbers are very strange. Remember that Google's products include Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube, so one has to wonder about the 40 percent of Google+ users who don't use a single Google product in a day. One might even conclude that the 20 percent of Google+ users who don't use a Google product in a week are not really "on" the Internet in a way that most users would recognize.

Worse, if these are the numbers that Page chose to use to *bolster* his case that Google+ was succeeding, imagine what the other numbers look like?

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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