google%2B Google+ Over 500 Million Users and Apps No Longer Free for Business

Google+ members just surpassed the 500 million member mark and Google says that they will soon overtake Facebook as the most used social media site. Also, Google will be making changes and no longer offer a free business version of Google Apps.

When Google + was introduced as a new alternative to other popular social media sites, many felt it would never take off.  Now Google says they have 500 million users and of those users, over 135 million are active users.

In mid-September, Google announced on their blog that they reached 400 million users, with 100 million active users.  And according to Google, their social media network is currently the fastest growing social media.  Google measures their usage by taking the total number of registered Google users who use the Google App store through Chrome or other means, those who search YouTube or Google Search and then by looking at those who use the Google+ application.  

During a November 28 business conference in New York City, Google’s Vice President of Product, Bradley Horowitz, spoke with Business Insider Deputy Editor Nicholas Carlson at the Business Insider, IGNTION Conference.  In the interview, Horowitz implied that Facebook is a social network that would fade away, and that Facebook was not set up in a way that works efficiently for its users.  Horowitz iterated that more than a billion people use Google if you add up Google search and all of the other services that Google offers.  

“We think we can do a better job for our users than we did in the last decade of hyper growth.  Those products are great, – honestly they’re not as great as they could be.  And Google + is an attempt to weave them together into an experience that provides immense value for our users and brands as well,” Horowitz said. “The way that we think about Google+ is a foundational layer. It’s not a parallel product that lives as a vertical equivalent to those products.  It is the identify relationship and interest system for Google.”

Horowitz went on to say that Google+ would eventually surpass Facebook in regards to active users because it allows people to have conversations without having to involve others along with offering all manner of other useful applications.  "In designing Google+, we keep thinking about the real world, the way people actually are," Horowitz said.  "We're trying to make a product that's ergonomic for the way our attention is wired." 

In other news, a December 6th blog post by Google’s Director of Product Management, Clay Bavor, writes that Google Apps would no longer remain free for businesses. He advised that individuals who wish to use Google’s web apps should create a free personal Google account.

Bavor explains that the services would now be combined for different users.

“When we launched the premium business version we kept our free, basic version as well. Both businesses and individuals signed up for this version, but time has shown that in practice, the experience isn't quite right for either group…With this in mind, we’ve decided to make things very straightforward.”

Clay states that for businesses there will be only one service from this point on, but would includes 24/7 phone support, a near 100% uptime guarantee and a 25GB inbox at 50 dollars per year. 

The blog did make sure to emphasize that Google Apps for education would be available and remain as a free service for all schools and colleges, and Google Apps for Government at 50 dollars per year.