November 18, 2011, 12:22 PM

Is everyone hanging out on Google+ without me?

Despite signs that consumers are interacting on Google’s social network, I’m not seeing it.

Thanks to an invite from one of my early adopter friends, I’ve been on Google Inc.’s social network Google+ for nearly as long as it has been around. So have several of my friends.

Yet each time I log in to Google+, not much has changed. That’s a problem on a social network that features a stream (Google+’s version of Facebook Inc.’s news feed) on the first page a consumer sees after logging on to the social network. The stream aggregates all the posts and actions my connections have made on the social network. Few changes means few people I’m connected to are interacting on Google+.

Google’s social network features Circles, an organization tool that enables consumers to classify their relationships by their own self-defined criteria, such as “Friends from college” or “Family.” Consumers can share posts with either everyone their connected to on the social network or just those in a particular Circle.

Because of the presence of Circles there are two possible explanations for why I’m not seeing much activity on Google+. One is that everyone who I’m connected to has lumped me into Circles with monikers such as “People I’m connect to but do not share things with.” While that certainly is possible, I think the more likely explanation is that my friends simply aren’t using the social network.

I don’t think they’re alone. Web measurement firm Experian Hitwise says that 74% of the 6.8 million visits to Google+ were from repeat visitors who had visited the site in the previous 30 days. While that’s the highest percentage since the social network opened up to all consumers, it pales in comparison to Facebook, where more than 50% of the social network’s more than 800 million active users log on to the site in any given day.

Given that every retailer has limited IT resources, merchants should keep focusing on Facebook and wait to see if Google+ can gain traction.

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