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Google+: Across the 'early adopter' chasm?

The social network now has 40M users and has officially moved out of its infancy, manager Brad Horowitz said at AsiaD.


Google+ has officially moved out of its infancy, the social project's product manager Bradley Horowitz said at the All Things Digital AsiaD conference today.

Speaking to All Things Digital's Peter Kafka, Horowitz said Google+ has "reached beyond the early adopters" and now has 40 million users. Even with that strong early growth, Google+ is actually still a "project" and not a product, Horowitz said. That means the company faces quite a bit of work to bring Google+ up to snuff.

A key component in that, Horowitz said, is bringing the "Google" by integrating other Web services into the Google+ ecosystem to make the project a far more well-rounded offering.

Google CEO Larry Page echoed that sentiment during his company's earnings call earlier this week, telling analysts that Google has big plans for its social project.

"It's still incredibly early days for Google+ because our goal is actually far bigger than the individual feature launches themselves," Page said. "Our ultimate ambition is to transform the overall Google experience, making it beautifully simple, almost automagical, because we understand what you want and can deliver it instantly."

Google launched its Google+ project earlier this year. The service has a host of social features, including group chatting and the ability to share content only with certain people, thanks to a feature called Circles. However, at 40 million users, the social network has a long way to go to catch Facebook. At the F8 conference last month, Facebook said that it now has over 800 million active users worldwide.

Surprisingly, Google co-founder Sergey Brin has acknowledged that he wasn't so sure Google+ should have launched with all the features that it did. At the Web 2.0 Summit yesterday, Brin said that he fought against some Google+ features, but that he "was wrong."

Horowitz said Google has learned from its early social-networking mistakes. Its decision to bring pseudonyms to Google+ after insisting that it wouldn't is the direct result of users making the case for pseudonyms "with great passion," he said.

That's not the only Google+ change on the horizon. The company is also planning to "imminently" add brand pages to Google+, according to the company's senior vice president of engineering, Vic Gundotra, who spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit yesterday.