Google+ (or Google Plus), the beta version of Google’s new ambitious social networking service is off to a flying start with 4.5 million people reportedly using the service, having signed up via the current invite-only basis, but is Google+ good enough to beat the king of social networking sites - Facebook?

According to Paul Allen, the founder of Ancestry.com and not to be confused with Microsoft’s cofounder, using the data from U.S. Census and counting the numbers of common surnames has yielded an estimated number of 4.7 million users in the Google+ community.

“Google+ is Growing Like Crazy… Probably More than 4.5 Million Users Already,” posted Allen yesterday.

The new figure is almost 3 times as large as last Monday’s estimate, which Allen guessed at 1.7 million.

Google+ is becoming an Internet sensation for sure. Within a day since its opening launch where people were only able to join upon invitation only, the service received “insane demand” and Google had to suspend Google+ invites. The service has now resumed.

The new social networking service by the Internet search engine giant, with amazing features including Circles, Sparks, Hangouts and Huddle, has often been compared to Facebook by many, with heated debates taking place whether Google+ can snatch away 'king of social networking' title from Facebook.

According to a press conference last Wednesday, Facebook has reported that the number of its users have reached 750 million.

Can Google+ successfully challenge and beat the social networking giant - Facebook? Or is Google+ going to fail miserably like the company’s previous attempts at social networking such as Buzz and Orkut?

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