According to data collected by Trendstream's Global Web Index for the fourth quarter of 2012, Google+ was the second most popular social media platform on the web with 343 million active users. In first place was Facebook with 693 million active users, while Youtube -- another Google product -- was in third place, slightly ahead of Twitter.
However, Forbes contributor Anthony Wing Kosner pointed out that simply adding Google+ and Youtube users together won't help Google catch up to Facebook, as they have overlapping active users. Kosner also pointed out that Facebook's dominance is due to the fact that there are many web applications that let you sign in with a Facebook account. Any action within these apps, no matter how small, would make you an "active user".
This set of data also disproves the popular notion that Google+ is a ghost town, and that Google is catching up, thanks to its relentless efforts on social media. According to Kosner, the merging of Google's other widely used products like Youtube and Google Drive would also boost Google's numbers in the social media scene, similar to how Facebook does it.
While the big American companies battle it out for the top spot, it's worth noting that there are a large number of Chinese web companies that made it to the top 10 list. However, according to the Global Web Index, all of the major Chinese social media companies experienced a large decline.
Some of the reasons identified: Networks can't keep up with growth, government requiring real names and numbers for signing up, shifting of usage to blogs and forums, growth of apps and mobile, and growth of international networks via proxy servers, VPNs, MNC networks and mobile apps.