I start with US Census Bureau data about surname popularity in the U.S., and compare it to the number of Google+ users with each surname. I split the U.S. users from the non-U.S. users. By using a sample of 100-200 surnames, I am able to accurately estimate the total percentage of the U.S. population that has signed up for Google+. Then I use that number and a calculated ratio of U.S. to non-U.S. users to generate my worldwide estimates. My ratio is 1 US user for every 2.12 non-U.S. users. That ratio was calculated on July 4th through a laborious effort, and I haven’t updated it since.

Ancestry.com’s Paul Allen on how he was able to estimate traffic on Google+ before the company made an official announcement. The process revelation follows the news that Google+ saw a 1,269 surge in visitors since opening to the general public last week.

With an estimated 50 million users, Google+ is by far the fastest-growing social network of all time, as VentureBeat points out. But with 800 million users, Facebook is still bigger than Google+ by the population of the European Union, the United States and South Korea combined. And Twitter, with 200 million users, still has Google+ beat by the sum population of Japan and Australia. 

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