More buzz went up this week when an unofficial study was posted claiming that Google+ has already grabbed 10 million users.
Google has not released any statistics about the number of people who have joined Google+. The company has remained tightlipped about everything from the number of users to bugs that Google engineers might be finding in the system, or about any upcoming changes.
But that's not stopping people from conjecturing about it. It didn't stop at least one person from spending quite a bit of time trying to calculate his own numbers. Paul Allen, the founder of Ancestry.com and not the Microsoft co-founder, has been receiving a lot of attention on Google+ for his estimate that Google+ has already gained about 10 million users.
According to Allen , who based his numbers on a complex calculation of U.S. census data and the 100 to 200 of the most popular surnames, worldwide users hit 7.3 million on Sunday. That's up from 1.7 million users on July 4, which would represent an increase of 350% in just six days, Allen wrote.
"I project that Google will easily pass 10 million users [Tuesday] and could reach 20 million users by this coming weekend if they keep the Invite button available," Allen wroteon Google+. "As one G+ user put it, it is easy to underestimate the power of exponential growth."
In an email to Computerworld, Google would not say if Allen's numbers are accurate or even in the ballpark. A spokeswoman simply said the company has not disclosed any numbers.
But Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, noted that it's a testament to how interested people are in Google+ that someone would go to such lengths to come up with a user estimate.
The people on Google+ are giving that estimate a lot of attention. As of 11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Allen's post had 109 comments, and it had been shared 1,000 times.
Ten million users is a mere drop in the bucket compared with social networking giant Facebook , which confirmed last week that it has surpassed 750 million users.
However, if Allen's figures are close to accurate, it means that Google+ is seeing some very strong growth. And that bodes well for a social network that has a decidedly uphill battle in taking on Facebook.
"I don't think it's impossible for Google+ to have hit those numbers," said Gottheil. "Given its high profile and the now open invitations, it could well be true."