Google Plus beats Twitter to become second largest social network

Google Plus is now the social network with the second highest number of users, at 359 million active users, according to a recent report by GlobalWebIndex, an internet analytics firm. These numbers cement the importance of Google Plus for local search marketing. Also, to no one's surprise, Facebook topped the list at 701 million active users, and Twitter came in third with 297 million users. Though Google Plus has more users than Twitter, it's growth rate is 33 percent, about the same as the growth rate of Facebook, while Twitter's growth rate is 44 percent.

Though Google hasn't recently spoken up about its numbers, in December it reported that 500 million people had Google Plus accounts, but only 135 million people posted on Google Plus pages. Critics suggest that everyone in business uses Google Plus for local SEO purposes, but the millions of users Google claims are active are actually just logging in to Google - as all of Google's services are now connected with one login - not using Google Plus en masse.

However, others claim that Google Plus is serving a need by allowing users to find and connect with strangers who have similar interests, while Facebook typically connects people to those they already know.

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