Google+ hemorrhages users as novelty wears off

Well, if you haven’t got round to joining Google+, you now have a good excuse not to bother: many of those who did have abandoned it.

Just three weeks after the social networking site officially entered public beta, says data analytics firm Chitika, the huge increase in usage has faded away.

When the site first went public, traffic was reported to have increased by a massive 1,200 percent, thanks to all the publicity. Soon after, though, it fell right back to the previous level.

“It would appear that although high levels of publicity were able to draw new traffic to Google+, few of them saw reason to stay,” says Chitika.

The company reckons there are two reasons for this lack of enthusiasm. First, it says, there are only so many people out there that are interested in social networking in the first place.

Second, the site has lacked original features that make it stand out from the crowd. Indeed, Google and Facebook appear at times to have been attempting to make their respective offerings as similar to one another as possible.

Chitika points out that Google has made some steps toward diversifying its services – introducing Hangouts, and incorporating its search engine into the social network, for example. The inclusion of a new +1 button for ads and search results could also make its product mix more to users, it says.

“Perhaps if Google can accelerate their current pace of innovation on their social network offering, Google+ could becoming a competitive alternative to its arch-rival, Facebook,” says Chitika.

“Otherwise, given Facebook’s clout and reputation of rapid innovation, Google+ might just be left in the dust.”