A Bloomberg story about Google's social network spawns all sorts of headscratching and debate.

Can 10 million Google+ users all be wrong? Or just bored?

A Bloomberg News article reporting on data released by Experian Hitwise showing the amount of time Google+ users spent on the site last week has set off a flurry of speculation that the social network service aimed at going toe-to-toe with Facebook may go the way of Google Wave.

Users spent an average of five minutes, 47 seconds on the site during the weekend ended Aug. 27, up just four percent from the previous week.

By late Thursday afternoon there were more than 375 tweets mentioning the article, which was widely distributed by other news organizations (and, for the record, 38 Google +1 mentions of the article).

“Once again, ‘new’ and ‘better’ turn out to be an incomplete marketing strategy for anyone but the digerati,” author and branding expert Bruce Philip tweeted.

Time spent on Google+ peaked during the week ending July 16, when users spent an average of five minutes, 50 seconds on the site. The number of site visits also fell 5.5 percent during the most recent week, fueling more speculation about Google’s trouble breaking into social networking.

The service remains in limited launch, meaning users have to be invited to join, but Google said 10 million people had signed up since Google+ was introduced on June 28.

Google+ has received widespread praise for its design, including its Circles feature, which makes it easy for users to control what content they share with certain people in their network. Google+ has also rolled out games, a Facebook mainstay.

“Google Plus is the way to go! Way better than facebook :)” Jamie Smith posted as his Facebook status on Wednesday.

Indeed, many of Facebook’s recently-announced changes in service offerings and privacy policies have been seen as responses to Google Plus. 

But in the end, Google Plus may simply be falling victim to the fact that Facebook was first.

“Has anybody heard of google plus. its supposed to be better than facebook. i doubt it. its by invitation only. nobody comes close to facebook,” Charles Stanchik asked in a Facebook Status update Wednesday morning.

Photo by wwarby

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