Google+ hits 20m unique visitors; Social chief admits brand strategy was "a mistake"

Google+ could have already exceeded 20m unique visitors, new traffic estimates suggest, a quarter of which are based in the US. That's unprecedented growth, comScore suggests, with previous posterchild for rapid engagement, Twitter, taking several months to amass the same level of interest. However, Google's social chief Vic Gundotra has admitted that the way Google handed brand pages on Google+ was "probably a mistake"

"I've never seen anything grow this quickly" comScore VP of industry analysis Andrew Lipsman told the WSJ. The figure is particularly impressive given that Google is yet to promote Google+ among its established core users of Gmail and other services, something that is expected to buoy the figures even more significantly.

Google's own numbers suggest 10m Google+ users are registered to the service, though unofficial estimates have lifted that to as many as 18m. Unique visitors is a different matter, of course, since that can include non-G+ members viewing public posts. A so-called "celebrity acquisition plan" is also said to be in the works, targeting high-profile users.

Not everything is going to plan with the fledgling social network, however. Asked about the ongoing confusion around business accounts – that has seen some pages deactivated – Vic Gundotra told TechCrunch that, with hindsight, Google had handled the situation poorly. While businesses had initially been asked to hold off from setting up a company presence on Google+ but using a personal account, that advice then changed to electing a "figurehead" from the business to represent it. The mixed messages were "a mistake" Gundotra conceded, though gave no suggestion on when Google+ might allow official brand pages instead.