Just how popular is Google+?

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We keep getting told that Google+ is Facebook’s biggest threat, that it’s on the rise faster than a 1990s house price and the only way is up. We’re told it already has 10 million profiles – or is it 20 million?

But is Google+ really catching on? I mean really, as in outside this little tech industry bubble we love to confine ourselves to?

I have a Google+ profile, but have to say I haven’t exactly jumped on board yet, and the biggest reason is that so few of my friends have. My feed right now comprises a lot of posts from several prominent Twitter personalities, a couple of IT friends who clearly like it a lot – and not much else. If I switch streams to seeing just my friends – as in my real, proper, non-PC Pro friends – there’s one person, and his last update was a week ago.

To fix this, I decided to import my entire Facebook friend list over to Google+ to breathe a bit of life into it. There’s no official way of doing so – Facebook doesn’t want you to, for obvious reasons – but it’s very simple to do using a Yahoo Mail account, as this blog post explains.

The result?

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Of the 53 Facebook friends who weren’t already in my Google+ circles – so that’s excluding all my work colleagues and one early-adopter mate who jumped in and got bored as quickly as I did – this import found that a grand total of zero had Google+ profiles.

Yes, zero. And most of my friends are tech-literate and in their late twenties/early thirties. The prime Google+ audience.

Some have suggested it’s the lack of invites that’s the problem, and that lots of people are just waiting to be allowed in. But most people I know who wanted in have found a way – I did.

And of course, any number of these 53 people may have created new GMail accounts in order to sign up to Google+, so their Facebook email wouldn’t be recognised. But if so, none of them have mentioned their new Google+ accounts on Facebook, as you’d expect of someone trying to fill their circles.

So is this like being on Twitter during the AV vote, where my entire feed suggested YesToAV was the only possible outcome, then the real non-tweeting world said otherwise? Are we in a bubble of our own making? With the number of tech sites currently writing eulogies to Google+, and the paucity of real-life conversation on the subject, it certainly feels that way.

Try the import for yourself and let me know in the comments how many of your friends have dived in. I’d be interested to see if Google+ is anything but hype.

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