Google announced this week that Google+ now has over 90 million users. That's pretty impressive, considering it's only been out about half a year.
It may help, however, that it comes as part of just signing up for a Google account now. Google+ began on an invitation-only basis. In fact, it was even called a project. Now it's getting integrated into all kinds of Google products, including the company's flagship product - search. When the "project" launched, even Google account holders had to get an invite.
Now, when you go to the page to sign up for Google, it is a heavily emphasized feature (hat tip: Alex Chitu). On the page, it says:
Your Google Account is more than just Search.
Talk, chat, share, schedule, store, organize, collaborate, discover and create. Use Google products from Gmail to Google+ to YouTube, view your search history, all with one username and password, all backed up all the time and easy to find at (you guessed it) Google.com.
Take it all with you.
A Google Account lets you access all your stuff — Gmail, photos and more — from any device. Search by taking pictures, or by voice. Get free turn-by-turn navigation, upload your pictures automatically, and soon even buy things with your phone using Google Wallet.
Share a little. Or share a lot.
Share selectively with friends, family (maybe even your boss) on Google+. Start a video Hangout with friends, text a group all at once, or just follow posts from people who fascinate you. Your call.
Work in the future.
Get a jump on the next era of doing, well, everything. Watch as colleagues or partners drop in a photo, update a spreadsheet, or improve a paragraph, in real-time, from 1,000 miles away. Google Docs is free with a Google Account.
Chitu, at the Google Operating System blog, shares a statement from a Google spokesperson: "We're working to develop a consistent sign-up flow across our different products as part of our efforts to create an intuitive, beautifully simple, Google-wide user experience. Making it quick and easy to create a Google Account and a Google profile enables new users to take advantage of everything Google can offer."
Google has been pretty clear about Google+ "being Google". It's just a social layer that Google has laid over the larger Google network of offerings. This is why when you compare Google+ to other social networks like Facebook, you really have to compare Google as a whole to those networks, which makes Google+ seem like a much larger contender than it would be otherwise. That's kind of the beauty of Google's strategy. That's also why it may not be out of the realm of possibility for Facebook to potentially to consider doing a little more on the search front.