I'm glad someone is finally saying it. Eric Eldon for Aol/Techcrunch:
"That’s not 62 million active users, though — a point that everyone covering these numbers seems to have missed. It’s just the number of total users. And specifically, it’s the number of new surnames that Allen’s team has tracked being created on the service.
Because Google has aggressively integrated G into many other properties, including its top navigation bar and the OneBox, one would expect a certain baseline amount of sign-ups from among the hundreds of millions of people using other Google products.
The real question is how many people are returning after creating their accounts, which Allen doesn’t try to answer."
Precisely. I have absolutely no doubt that Google can get people to sign up to just about anything. They've marketed Google on all of their existing products, through commercials, by actually replacingfeatures in existing products, etc. These are all ways to market Google that a competing service or startup would never be able to leverage.
Getting profiles isn't Google 's "problem". It is keeping active users.
Robert Scoble (on Quora) and Chris Brogan (on Google ) seem to challenge the theory that Google is dead by showing that they've grown their "number of people who have them in their Circles number" faster than they were able to grow their networks on, say, Twitter or Facebook. While it took X number of months to get to Y number of followers on Twitter it took far less time on Google to do the same or better. I don't think that is a very good metric to determine whether or not Google is successful in retaining an active community. It is simply a metric to determine how many profiles they have. When you first sign up to Google you're taken through a wizard of sorts to add people to your Circles. Brogan is on the suggested user list (or was). Scoble isn't, by choice, but arguably you'd have to be on Mars to miss Robert's posts.
Google is still very new. It will inevitably cut out its own user base. And I hope it is successful for Google because I think it is a pretty great product. It could be extremely valuable to some uses. But so far I don't see it sticking for many people as their daily go-to way of sharing. In my Circles Twitter is still winning. And this is coming from someone who likes Google .