Google+ chief: “I don’t think we’ve hit hyper growth yet”

“Growth continues” at Google+, up from the 170m users announced during the last earnings call, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president for product management, said at London’s Le Web event on Tuesday.

But he acknowledged that Google’s social network still had some way to go.

“I don’t think we’ve hit that hyper growth phase,” he said, while pointing out that Google+ had still managed to reach the scale it had faster than many social networks.

“While I’m stunned at the growth… I do think our best days are ahead of us. A lot of the things I know we are yet to launch will make dramatic difference in usage.”

Google said in April that 100m of those 170m users logged in during the last month but Mr Horowitz gave little further information about how active its users really are today.

Although he didn’t make any major announcements ahead of next week’s Google I/O developer event in San Francisco, Mr Horowitz said that the recently released mobile apps indicated Google+’s direction of travel.

“These are much more graphical and emotionally resonant,” he said, adding with a sly swipe at Facebook’s much-discussed travails in mobile revenue: “For us mobile usage is not a problem – it doesn’t impact our business model. It’s actually a good thing for us.”

That may be true for Google+, which doesn’t generate any revenue directly, although the company’s search business is suffering from the same ad price deflation that Facebook is seeing from the shift to the small screen.

But Android offers opportunities for Google to use the information you share on G+, for example priotising calls when a mobile is in silent mode.

“My phone should understand the relationship I have with my wife and put the call through,” Mr Horowitz said.

Developers in the Le Web audience were keen for news on the Google+ API but this is still being opened up very gradually, with Flipboard the latest app to be authorised by Mountain View.

“We wanted to make sure the experience was good for all parties,” he said, with greater openness coming “when we know we can do it in a way that is good for users and safe”.