Google+ ditched its invite-only policy last week and was rewarded with a massive surge in traffic—a 1,269% rise, according to Experian Hitwise. The Internet metrics company believes that on the day after the policy changed, Google overtook Twitter to become the third-most popular social media site in the US, behind only Facebook and YouTube, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Google+ now has more than 50 million members, according to one analyst's estimate.
Google's social network is seeing its audience base shift away from 18- to 24-year-olds toward one more representative of the general population, according to Hitwise, which notes that the network's popularity is soaring among middle-income users, singles, and Hispanics. Some analysts believe Google+ is capable of catching up with Facebook's 800 million users—helped along by concerns about privacy issues at Facebook and the site's soon-to-be-implemented redesign. (Read more Google Plus stories.)