Whenever Google reports the number of Google+ users that are active, it does not necessarily mean that these are people that go directly to plus.google.com and browse the social network from there. When Google+ announced their redesign, Google SVP Vic Gundotra said that “more than 170 million people have upgraded to Google+.” Here is how Gundotra came up with that number.
“You have to understand what Google+ is,” said Gundotra in an interview. “It’s really the unification of all of Google’s services, with a common social layer.”
Gundotra said that the 170 million number comes from any surfing a Google property while sign in as a Google+ user. “We really mean anyone using a Google property, signed in as a Google+ user, and taking advantage of the social graph. It’s pretty stunning number.” What this basically means is that if you see your name with a plus sign before it at the top left of any Google property, you are counted as an active user whether you visit plus.google.com or not. That almost simply means that you have never disabled your Google+ account. Click here if you want to learn how to disable Google+.
Gundotra said that if you just focus on the Google+ landing page, then you are missing the point. “It’s a misunderstanding of the Google strategy to focus on… the stream. Then you’re not getting the Google+ strategy.” It is a different strategy than Facebook because Google has a broad range of services that use the Google+ social graph. Google+ is a layer of social functionality on top of all Google’s services.