Google's ambitions to compete with Facebook and Twitter in social networking have slowly begun to see success: On Thursday, the search giant announced its Google Plus (Google+) social network launched in summer 2011 had reached 135 million active users in its information stream, or users on the Google Plus website itself. That's far less than Facebook's 1.01 billion but dangerously close to Twitter's 140 million active users on its sixth birthday in March (though Twitter later in the year said it had 500 million registered users).
Still, some 235 million users interact with the Google Plus buttons and video chats Hangout features. Overall, 500 million users have upgraded their older Google Accounts to Google Plus accounts, through a user-activated update process, but the remaining 465 million apparently don't spend much time on the actual Google Plus website itself -- yet.
Google on Thursday also unveiled a new feature for its social network: Google+ "Communities," topic-specific pages for users to interact and share content with one another.