Membership for up and coming social network Google+ has accelerated over the festive period, with 625,000 new users being added a day and an overall total of 62 million, a researcher has estimated.
Paul Allen, a founder of Ancestry.com and FamilyLink.com, wrote earlier this week on his Google+ blog that the network will hit 400 million users by the end of next year, as the number of daily sign-ups increases. Facebook currently has over 800 million users.
"It may be the holidays, the TV commercials, the Android 4 signups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouth, or a combination of all these factors, but there is no question that the number of new users signing up for Google+ each day has accelerated markedly in the past several weeks," he wrote.
Some of Allen's previous predictions have been too aggressive, though he says he is adjusting his model as official numbers are released. In October, he estimated that the site had 50 million users, a week before Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page said it had 40 million.
To make his estimates, he uses a list of common surnames with census data for what portion of the US population they represent. He then searches on Google+ to get the number of accounts with each name, then multiplies out to get a total "population" for the site. Allen's method, however, says nothing about how active users are or if they're active at all.
Allen predicts the young network will hit around 65.8 million users in January and 85.2 million in February.
Facebook has dismissed the threat from Google+, but has also mimicked the site, including revamping friend lists to be more like Google's circles earlier this year.