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Google+ could now have 43 million users

Google+ reportedly gained 30 per cent more users after going public, but will that be enough to trounce Facebook?

Google+ appears to be gathering pace, filling its sails with tens of millions of new users since opening publicly just over a week ago.

Ancestry.com co-founder and enthusiastic Google+ number cruncher Paul Allen reckons the Facebook-bothering social network has accrued an estimated 43.4 million users, something he's figured out by counting Google+ users by their surnames.

That would mean the number of people trying out Google+ has jumped by 30 per cent since Google threw open the doors to the great unwashed.

These figures on aren't official, so they're best taken with a grain of salt, but if accurate they show signs that the Circle-filled social network is on the rise. 30 per cent is a big increase, but is it big enough?

Early days

To be honest, we suspected that on the day it went public Google+ would enjoy a tidal wave of sign-ups, because Google painted a honking great blue arrow on its homepage, inviting people to give it a shot. A 30 per cent increase is not to be sniffed at, but we can't help but feel that with that kind of exposure, Google+ should already be bigger.

Google+ may have a healthy amount of early interest, but Facebook has 750 million users. If Google can't get a seriously large number of people using its own social network, those who took an early interest will likely drift away, probably back to Facebook, where all their less nerdy friends are already entrenched.

It's early days, but Google+ hasn't shown what it's really good for yet. People use Facebook for photos and events and keeping up with friends, and they use Twitter for news and links from people they don't necessarily know. Google+ does all those things cleanly and well, but there's nothing unique about it.

That said, Facebook has been seriously annoying its own clientele this week, with interface changes and a slightly creepy new Timeline feature, as well as the news that new Spotify users need a Facebook account to sign up.

In short, there's always the chance that Facebook itself will drive its users away. And Google could always give Google+ another push on its own massively popular homepage, which could help.

Which side are you on, Google's or Facebook's? Does Google+ stand a chance? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

Confused about Google+? Watch our rollicking explanatory video