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Google+ becomes third most popular social networking site

by Kelly MacNeil on September 28, 2011

After doing away with its invitation-only policy last week, Google+ has seen an impressive rise in membership that puts it among the top three social networking sites on the internet. Web trafficking firm Experian Hitwise says Google+ enjoyed 15 million total visits in the United States last week.

Perhaps most impressive is that the boost in traffic has vaulted Google+ behind only Facebook and Twitter on the website's rankings, and ahead of YouTube. The rise in visitors is especially good for Google+ as many were speculating the general public had forgotten about it after a steep slide in July.

"Google+ emerged as the third largest site in the Social Network and Forums category last Wednesday, a day after the site went from 'invitation-only' to 'open access' available to everyone," Heather Dougherty, a director of research at Hitwise, wrote in a blog post on the website. "Opening access created a massive spike in market share of visits for the site, with a 1,269 percent growth from the week ending September 17 to the week of September 24."

Although more and more users are flocking to Google+, it is still a far cry from Facebook. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the website has topped the 800 million worldwide user mark, the Los Angelse Times reports. Additionally, Zuckerberg unveiled a number of new features that seem to echo Google+, including one that allows users to group their friends much like Google+ circles.

Still, industry insiders say that Google+ may have a significant impact on how people interact on the internt, especially when it comes to employment. The revamped hangout features allow video conferencing, something which could allow job candidates to interview with more than one person at once.

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