Today Google launched Google+ Communities, which allows users of the social network to create and join large common interest groups complete with discussion, hangouts, and seamless sharing across the web. They also announced that former iPad app of the year Snapseed, which Google acquired back in September, is now available for Android.
But inside those announcements, Google Senior VP Vic Gundotra also dropped some new Google+ statistics. Mainly, the network (by itself) now has 135 million active users.
"Today Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever. More than 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google (+1'ing apps in Google Play, hanging out in Gmail, connecting with friends in Search...), and 135 million are active in just the stream," says Gundotra.
So, Google+ has over 500 million users - but not really. When you look at Google account holders who actually access plus.google.com (or the mobile app), that figure is only about 27%.
Still, 135 monthly active users is hardly a "ghost town," which is a two word phrase that we all expect Vic Gundotra and others around Google are probably sick and tired of hearing.
Back in September (when Gundotra announced the acquisition of Snapseed), Google claimed 400 million registered Google+ users and 100 million monthly active users. That means that Google+ has gained 35 million active users in about two and a half months. Extrapolated, Google+ is on a rough pace of 160 million new active users in a year.
I know we make the "Google+ is Google" argument all the time to explain that every Google product is connected, and to think of Google+ as a standalone social network (as opposed to the glue that holds many other services together) is an egregious error. But back in September, when Google announced 100 million MAUs, Gundotra said "while Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination."
So make no mistake - Google is very happy to see 135 million MAUs for Google+.