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Google+ users spend increasingly less time on site

Despite a growing base of members, the search giant's social-networking effort is still in the minor leagues with users spending just 3.3 minutes per month on the site.

Next to Google+, Facebook is proving to be the social-networking behemoth.

Facebook users spent an average of 7.5 hours on the site during January, according to stats released today by research firm ComScore and detailed by The Wall Street Journal. These numbers dwarf all other social networking sites, most notably Google+ where users racked just 3.3 minutes for the whole month.

In fact, Google+ users are spending increasingly less time on the site as the months go by. In December users spent 4.8 minutes, down from November when users spent 5.1 minutes, according to Bloomberg.

When Google+ launched last June, the company had high hopes that it would be the next generation of the service that could combine what was at the company's core--its search engine--with social networking.

Boasting more than 90 million members and more than doubling since October, according to The Wall Street Journal, one wouldn't think Google+ was doing that bad. But compared to Facebook, with 845 million members, it's still small-time.

Bradley Horowitz, a Google vice president of product management, told The Wall Street Journal that "we're growing by every metric we care about," and a Google spokeswoman told the journal that ComScore's data is "dramatically lower" than Google's internal data.

Other research groups, however, have also documented Google+'s lackluster performance. A recent study by Shareaholic showed other social-networking sites, such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter, leagues ahead of Google+ for referral traffic.