Google Inc.’s new social-networking service, Google+, saw fewer U.S. visitors last week and users are spending less time on the site, signaling that its momentum may be slowing, according to Experian Hitwise.
Total Google+ visits fell about 3 percent to 1.79 million in the U.S. in the week ended July 23 from the prior seven days, said Experian Hitwise, which tracks Web traffic. Google+ visits had risen 283 percent in the week ended July 16. The average time spent on the site in the most recent week declined 10 percent to 5 minutes and 15 seconds, the research firm found.
Google+, an online tool started last month that lets users create and communicate with groups of friends, is the company’s latest effort to challenge services such as Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. Google co-founder Larry Page, who took over as chief executive officer in April, announced earlier this month that Google+ had more than 10 million users -- less than three weeks after it started.
“We are seeing over 1 billion items shared and received in a single day,” Page said July 14 on a call with analysts. “So while we still have a lot of work still to do, we are really excited about our progress with Google+."
Experian Hitwise’s research methods, which rely on visits to websites, don’t include mobile users and third-party application traffic, according to the New York-based company.
Google+, which aims to help users better organize and manage contacts and sharing, began a test version on June 28 by invitation only.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, fell $15.30, or 2.5 percent, to $607.22 today on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have risen 2.2 percent this year.