Maybe there’s something to Google+ after all.

The research firm Experian Hitwise says the still newish social network had 49 million visits in December, which is up 55 percent from November. We had brought you earlier estimates of overall Google+ membership but number of visitors is a more reliable metric since it indicates actual engagement with the service. Overall membership numbers are estimated between 60 and 65 million, although Google doesn’t release official figures. Of course, Facebook is at around 800 million users right now. But Google+ isn’t about defeating Facebook, at least not in the immediate future. Rather, it’s the connective tissue that bonds the various Google offerings and makes it easier to slide from one Google product to another, retain information, and socialize. And it might actually be working even though I’ve stopped sorting random people into arbitrary circles.

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