I just recently wrote about the importance of Google Places and Google+ for businesses competing internationally. Since writing this, interesting research has come out bringing to light the realities of user activity on Google+, as in there isn't much to speak of, not yet at least. According to new data from comScore Inc., there is little motion from Google+ users once they sign up on the platform.
Looking at comScore's numbers, visitors from computers were on Google+ an average of 3 minutes per month in the time from September to January, although it is worth noting that a Google spokeswoman contended the comScore data is much lower than their internal numbers as reported by Amir Efrati in an article from The Wall Street Journal. This is compared to the average of 6-7 hours users spent on Facebook each month during the same time period.
Even if internal data paints a much different picture, the publishing of such low numbers for Google+ by comScore must be frustrating for Google executives. They have a clear vision for the platform and are not panicking about its slow growth and apparent low activity, but they must be wary of any growing public perception that the platform isn't relevant. With that said, the platform's direct comparison to Facebook may not be entirely legitimate as Google sees the platform as a supplementary feature to their other applications like Gmail that adds a social dimension that can then be leveraged for search like with Google Search Plus Your World. As a result, according to Efrati, Google is making a long-term bet on Google+ and its viability which will be worked out in the years to come as their applications and search continue to evolve.
Additionally, the platform has 90 million users since its launch last summer which means that there is interest from a growing number of web users. Most likely, they are realizing that it is best to bet on the side of Google than against them and have since joined Google+ in numbers even if they don't fully understand what they can use it for, they feel it will be increasingly important for them and relevant to their overall social and web experience in the future.
In the same breath, many SEO companies are making the same wager and utilizing the platform as much as possible in the short-term while trying to understand how it can best be utilized for SEO gain in the long-term. Based on Google's ability to innovate and adapt, they will surely maximize Google+ in the months and years to come successfully augmenting their other applications and maybe even one day challenging Facebook on users and activity.