Study: After surge, Google+ traffic falls back

Although Google+ experienced sharp usage gains after becoming publicly available, it hasn't sustained that peak traffic, Chitika says

Google+ traffic has deflated after a temporary spike following Google's decision to open up the social networking site to everyone, according to data analytics company Chitika.

When it was launched in late June, Google+ was limited to people who got an invitation either directly from Google or from an existing member.

On Sept. 20, Google lifted that sign-up restriction and usage surged more than 1200 percent, according to Experian Hitwise.

However, traffic has dropped back to where it was before Google+ became widely available, Chitika data analyst Gabe Donnini said in a blog post titled "Failure to Launch: Google+ Growth Spurt Short Lived."

"The data shows that, on the day of its public debut, Google+ traffic skyrocketed to peak levels. But, soon after, traffic fell by over 60% as it returned to its normal, underwhelming state. It would appear that although high levels of publicity were able to draw new traffic to Google+, few of them saw reason to stay," Donnini wrote.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since the launch of Google+, social networking leader Facebook has been busy rolling out upgrades and new features for its site in areas like privacy controls, video chat and friend grouping. A major redesign of the Facebook profile is also scheduled for release soon.

Google has very high expectations for its new social networking site, which it hopes can become a credible competitor to Facebook. With its tight Microsoft partnership, massive traffic, increasing influence and growing online ad business, Facebook has become a big threat to Google, with whom it has had a tense, adversarial relationship for years.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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