The Macalope Daily: The numbers game

The Macalope wouldn’t say Google’s using statistics to lie about itself, but trying to pull that trick of using a lighter to get the natives to think it’s a god? Oh, yeah.

Rocky Agrawal questions Google’s emphasis on total users in crowing about Google+, which the Macalope refers to as “!Facebook.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Kontra for the link.)

I’m not impressed by the numbers, and I’m not impressed by what Page was trying to do with them.

Counting registered users instead of daily active users tells us nothing about the popularity of the service. Think of the millions of people who’ve registered for Google+ but never use it.

Like, say, the Macalope. He has a Google+ account and he’s not used it once since the day he signed up for it. Sure, that’s a production of Meaningless Anecdote Theater, but if all the horny one’s friends were standing around the virtual water cooler (Twitter) and saying “Did you see that thing on Google+?” every morning, he’d probably take a gander. But that simply hasn’t happened. You might argue that a mythical beast with a Classic Mac for a head would never use a Google product anyway, but the Macalope uses Gmail every day.

Of course, Google’s not the only company that does this. “Number of apps” is a really stupid statistic, and Apple trots that out on a regular basis so that everyone knows the App Store is like getting sprayed in the face with a fire hose full of apps. But who cares when a decent portion of those apps have names like “+++AAA Upset Avians vs Pesky Porcines”? (Yes, the Macalope knows “porcine” is an adjective, but the +++AAA App Company of Belarus doesn’t.)

At the same time, as the Macalope’s pointed out before, and Agrawal rightly notes, Apple’s also got some actually meaningful statistics to show it’s more successful than Google where it really counts.

In Q4, Apple reported that iPad sales for the quarter came in at $6.9 billion. Google’s revenues for the quarter were $10.6 billion. With just one product, launched less than 2 years ago, Apple did 2/3 the revenue of all of Google.

But Android’s winning, so…

Really, who are the biggest beneficiaries of Android? Right now it seems like it’s the carriers, Amazon, and Microsoft. Google’s making $833 million in ad revenue. That’s revenue, not profit. How much do you think Google spends every year on Android development? The Macalope really has no idea. And then there’s buying Motorola. And buying patents. And marketing. And those little plastic Android guys.

Well… the Macalope’s sure they know what they’re doing.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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