From zero to 20 million unique visitors in 21 days or just three weeks time, that’s what web-tracker ComScore says Google’s new Google+ social networking service can lay claim to. Of those 20 million clicks, ComScore says five million or 25% came from the U.S.
Before anyone gets too excited, note I typed “visitors,” not “members.” While ComScore calls the market response to Google+ “very positive overall,” we have no idea how many of those 20 million went on to sign up (anyone can visit a Google+ page, say Mark Zuckerberg’s, member or no). That said, the visitor number only accounts for “home and work computers,” not to be confused with the mobile one probably stashed in your purse or pocket.
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Let’s also remember that Facebook currently claims more than 750 million active users, that 50% of those users log into Facebook once a day, that people spend “over 700 billion minutes a month” on the site, and that’s to say nothing of the number of unique visitors. Sure, Google’s overall unique visitor tally surpassed 1 billion recently, but then Facebook’s not (yet) in the world’s-most-popular-search-engine, enterprise-products, or full-blown-productivity-suite game.
ComScore adds that it’s only measuring visitor activity to plus.google.com, and that it’s not accounting for additional traffic that might come from the Google+ menubar.
But it calls the 20 million figure “extraordinary” (especially seeing as the site’s still invite-only) and says it represents an upswing of 82% over last week and an incredible 561% over the two weeks prior. Among U.S. visitors, those percentage upswings are 81% and 723% respectively.
Is Google+ the fastest growing site in Internet history? Maybe, maybe not, but ComScore says “It would be difficult to think of many sites that reached such a large number in such a short period of time,” though acknowledging Google’s not really the same as other sites (like Facebook) in that it already has over a billion unique visitors to draw upon.
Can Google+ sustain this kind of momentum? Here’s ComScore’s take:
As we’ve seen in the social networking market before, success often hinges on a strong network effect, which says that the more people in the network the more useful it becomes to others and the more incentive there is to participate. Early interest in Google+ is certainly important, but it will also need to attract regular participation among users to cultivate such an effect. In the past week, we have seen the number of average usage days via home and work computers increase by more than 30%, an early indication that the network effect just might be beginning taking hold.
In other words: Ask us after the honeymoon’s over.
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Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.