The latest statistic on the number of Google+ users indicates it surpassed 18 million, and continues to grow.

The report by Paul Allen, a statistician and founder of, had also estimated 10 million Google+ users before it was even officially announced by Larry Page last week.

So how exactly did Allen get these numbers?

By using a ratio resulting from counting the number of Google+ users with a certain surname and comparing it the number of people with the same surname in the U.S. Census records, then using that ratio number to calculate the total number of users.

Allen's ratio suggests that the rate of growth has slightly waned after tremendous growth nonetheless.

Last week we saw two days where more than 2 million signed up in a single day. If that rate had continued, Google+ would have reached 20 million users by last Sunday night. But the last four days have averaged only 948,000 new users and yesterday the site added only 763,000. Yesterday's growth of 4.47% was the slowest viral growth since Google opened up invites back on July 6th, reads Allen's Google+ post.

With the viral popularity of Google+, and even Facebook users permanently flocking over to Google+, will Google+ eventually dethrone Facebook?

In today's fiercely competitive internet era where ideas and businesses can explode and die overnight, anything is predictable. For certain is a head-on war between Google+ and Facebook to reach (or maintain) the number one position when it comes to social networks.

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