Hitwise: Google+ now 8th largest social network

The Web analytics firm notes a sharp spike in Google+ traffic as opens to the public

Traffic exploded on Google+ after the social networking site opened to the public, shooting up 1,269 percent in one week, making the site the eighth largest social network on the Internet, according to Web analytics firm Hitwise.

Google+ rose from the 54th most visited site social networking to the eighth, receiving nearly 15 million visits in one week. This number is likely to be larger because Hitwise's data does not include mobile traffic or traffic from the Google notification bar.

When Google switched access from invitation-only to open for everyone last Wednesday, Google+ even ranked as the third largest social network for a brief moment. The site is now right behind MySpace, which had 16.3 million visits, and LinkedIn, with 17.8 million visits in the week ending Sept. 24.

Google+ is still far behind the numbers one and two on the charts. Facebook leads the pack with 1.7 billion total visits in one week, followed by YouTube with a little over 530 million. Twitter came in third with 33 million visits in one week.

The fast growth of Google+ from its launch in early July to last week "illustrates how quickly the cycle from 'innovator' and 'early adopter' phase, to the 'early majority' and 'late majority' can occur," Heather Dougherty director of research at Hitwise said in a blog post. She also noted that early adopters still account for a large share of Google+'s traffic.

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