Google+ app

Who is using Google's social platform?

Google's own social platform Google+ is something of a dark horse in the social media world, and many have called it a failure for not attracting enough of their real-life contacts to replace Facebook or Twitter. However, the tech world, and Android users in particular have extra incentive — or blackmail, if you wanna look at it that way — to have you using it.

Your Google Play account wants a Google+ account to tie into for your reviews and ratings, and many beta testing communities are hosted in Google+, only showing their opt-in links once you join the group. The automatic photo and video backup on Android is done through Google+ Photos. So even if you don't use Google+ proper, you may very well be using Google+ in the Play Store, or Photos, or when you're commenting on a YouTube video.

But how many of you have given in to the big red plus?

Almost half of you plus it up.

Over 3500 users — almost a half of the responding users — say they are indeed using Google+ actively, be it to network with fellow enthusiasts, to participate in app betas, or just follow the news. I'm not surprised by this number. After all, Google+ is where plenty of people really do interact with plenty of other people. The last time we got a glimpse into Google+'s active monthly user numbers was at Google I/O, where Android chief Sundar Pichai claimed it was over a billion. We're pretty sure that number includes YouTube commenters, for what that's worth.

It certainly included Google+ Photos users, which took home a modest 15 percent in this week's numbers. Google's built-in backup system had its share of users, but a number of commenters despised tying a non-social service like media storage to a social platform. Others simply preferred to backup to either their primary storage service like Dropbox or their primary social network, usually Facebook.

A paltry 8 percent claimed to only use Google+ for the beta testing and backups, which is reasonable, seeing how those beta communities usually lead to discussions and eventually to using Google+ in a more regular manner as a social platform. Many see it as the first step into using G+ as a social network — it's why I originally dove in back in 2013.

For some, Google+ will forever be a black eye.

That brings us to the whopping 29 percent of respondents that do not use Google+, many of whom called the service useless because they didn't have any real-life friends or family on it. We'd respond to that complaint again, but the commenters in the original poll seemed to do a good enough job of it, reminding naysayers that a social network is just as much about putting yourself out there as it is about fostering the relationships you already have. Many users are still sore about Google requiring a Google+ account for other Google services, namely Google+ Photos, Google Play reviews and YouTube comments.

A surprising number of comments actually commended the integration of YouTube commenting into Google+, allowing users to more quickly reply to comments using the Google+ notification bubble that appears across many of Google's pages, but the vitriol about Google 'forcing themselves' on users to try and make Google+ popular doesn't seem to be dying down anytime soon.

As far as us, Android Central has over 284,000 followers and we appreciate all of you who follow us there and watch our Android Central Podcasts live each Friday. We also created one of the largest Android communities on Google+ with over 800,000 members, and if you're looking for a good jumping off point to get into G+, we encourage you to come by and chat with some fellow Android enthusiasts.