New numbers from research firm comScore confirm what has long been believed -- Google+ is severely lagging behind competitors.

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The Wall Street Journal reports, "visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period, according to comScore." Users spent 4.8 minutes on the network in December and 5.1 minutes in November, the report said.

It has long been speculated that Google+ was on the decline, the recent report has confirmed that suspicion. The Wall Street Journal referred to the troubled network as "a virtual ghost town."

In a call with analysts last month, Google CEO Larry Page said Google+ had 90 million users compared to 40 million in October. It seems users are signing up and filling out their profile, but then ignoring the network. Google+ is severely suffering from lack of engagement.

The situation is so dire that users spend more time on Myspace than Google+. ComScore reports that users spend only an average of 3 minutes on Google+ compared to 8 on Myspace, 17 on LinkedIn, 21 on Twitter, 89 on Tumblr and Pinterest, and 405 on Facebook.

In an article for The Atlantic, Rebecca Rosen hypothesizes why Google+ has found itself in last place.

"Google asked businesses and organizations not to create Google+ pages after many tried to do so, asking them to wait until official business pages were ready. Why not have these pages ready at launch? Why be so controlling over how people use your new network? By asking companies to shut down their pages, Google killed off an early source of content that could have brought people to the site."

Rosen also notes Google's numerous privacy blunders, "Google shot itself in the foot by doing more 'evil' -- aka questionable privacy practices -- squandering its biggest comparative advantage that it had over Facebook, its main competitor."

Google maintains that they are on the right track. "We are making a long-term bet on the initiative and growing by every metric we care about," said Brad Horowitz, a Google VP of product management.

Only time will tell if Google's "bet" pays off, right now the odds don't look so good.

 

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Wall Street Journal