When Google launched its social networking site Google Plus, it made every profile visible to search engines by default. With this, every profile on Google Plus gets indexed by search engines and the profile links will be displayed in the search results accordingly.
Like every other website, Google too maintains a sitemap file for Google Plus that basically contains all the records and links to every Google Plus profile. A sitemap is a file that consists a list of pages of a website listed accordingly, which will enable crawlers or users to know the hierarchy of a site.
Amit from Labnol discovered that the main sitemap of Google Plus has over 39,000 sub-sitemap files with each of the sub-sitemap file consisting of 5,000 Google Plus profiles each. Therefore, calculating the total number of profile links in the sitemap file – 39,000 * 5,000 which is equivalent to 195 million profile links.
This clearly shows that Google Plus has nearly 195 million profiles as of March 16th, 2012 (the last sitemap update). However, yet another interesting discovery was the number of blank profiles out of the 195 million profiles.
When a new profile is created, the “About” section of the profile will be left blank with the message – “[Name] has not filled in his profile yet.” Performing a quick site search with the query – “site:plus.google.com “has not filled * profile yet” inurl:about ” reveals that Google Plus has nearly 25 million blank profile pages.
Therefore, the total number of active users on Google Plus (or at least those who have their profile information filled) is 170 million users.
Facebook currently boasts that it has over 850 million users, while Twitter records shows that it has 140 million “active” users. Earlier in January, Google’s Larry Page posted a public note (citing a quote from the Google Earnings report) on his Plus profile revealing that Google Plus has recorded over 90 million users globally.
Within over a span of nearly 2 months from the disclosure of official profile count, it looks like the newly launched social networking site has increased progressively with the current record of 170 million active users (as calculated above). It is predicted that Google Plus will have nearly 400 million users by the end of 2012.
Oh well, if in case you want to hide your Google Plus profile from search engines, then here’s what you need to do. Go to your profile page and click on “About”. Click “Edit Profile” and scroll down to the end where you’ll see “Profile discovery: Profile visible in search”. Click on it and uncheck the “Help others find my profile in search results” option and save the setting. Done! Your page will be taken off the search index and will no longer appear in search results until you come back and enable it again.