Google+ is on track to hit the 400m user mark by the end of 2012, having hit 60m after just six months. Given that it took reportedly Facebook four years to hit the 60m mark, this means that according to some estimates Google+ is allegedly growing 800% faster than Facebook at the corresponding points in their respective lives. But does that really tell the whole picture?
As Facebook execs doubtless know, it’s one thing to attract users, but quite another to keep them. Google has an advantage in the sense that it already has a well-develope ecosystem of services (e.g. Google search, Gmail, YouTube) that support Google+ profiles. In other words, Google+ can rely on the fact that users don’t really have to do too much in order to get started with their profiles.
On the other hand, the growth of Google+ comes at a time when people are very aware of the value of social networks, whereas Facebook’s early growth involved persuading users to sign up to the whole concept, which had previously been pushed in limited ways by the likes of MySpace. So while Google+ is certainly performing well, it might be too early to suggest that Google’s social network is going to be a nail in Facebook’s coffin.