Google launched Google+, or Google Plus, in June. The move is considered as Google's latest and largest social effort, and a strong reply to Facebook.
Despite initial hiccups such as running out of diskspace, Google+ has a solid chance to outrun Facebook.
Google Social Networking offering Google Plus off to a very strong start - may leapfrog Facebook, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note to clients.
The analyst said the network off to a solid start, with probably about 3 million to 3.5 million people signed up so far.
Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com, said there are more than 4.5 million people using Google+, leading him to believe that this social site is Growing Like Crazy.
Google has attacked the Social Networking space with significant key innovations, including Circles, Sparks and Hangouts.
These innovations significantly improve the usability, monetizability and user control in Google Plus, Chowdhry said.
Converged view is Google Plus puts Facebook back to the Drawing Board. Facebook has got too cluttered over time was a common complaint we heard, the analyst added.
Google+ offers an altogether different model of social networking.
Google+ contains the best of Facebook: sharing and discussing status updates, photos and links, but avoids the worst: It allows you to send different updates to discreet groups, instead of worrying about sharing everything to your 10,000 contacts or everyone on the Web.
Apart from a very attractive and enticing user interface, Google has millions of users availing of its free services like email, Docs etc. besides enjoying a near monopoly in search business, which Facebook and Twitter don't have.
The biggest dazzle Google+ has is integration. Almost all the existing Google online services, from Search to Documents to Video, have combined together with Google+. If you've used any Google products before, you might be surprised that information is automatically imported to your new Google+ account. Without ever leaving the current Google service you are using, you can monitor all Google+ events (updates, messages, etc.) as well as share content with friends.
As Google+ offers to integrate its social line into the whole range of free Google service, why would millions of those people ever want to go to another website for purely social networking purpose?
The core of Google+ is a feature called 'Circles' which helps a member organize different kinds of friends at various levels and control the way process of sharing.
The 'Circles' concept presents a way to find friends and socialize with them in a more direct, real-life method. Google says the Google+ model is different from the Facebook model, which doesn't distinguish between family, close friends and acquaintance.
Google+ users can unleash the power of Google search and share with their friends' real time data coming through Google search. Google has named this feature +Sparks. This means a Google+ user is no longer groping in the dark as to what to share to friends, while Facebook users would still be doing so.
Google+ offers video chat service called +Hangout, which will score a point over Facebook. Google+ allows to you to do group chat with up 10 people. We can leave video message- it supports Windows, Mac and Linux. While, Facebook video chat don't allow group chat and it doesn't seem to support Linux yet.
Meanwhile, Google's YouTube with a massive user base of 490 million users worldwide and adding an integrated Google+ could create a synergy could make it compelling for people to join the Google+ network for additional viral capacity horsepower.
Better privacy settings can be a big plus for Google+ it has been reported. There have been cases of Facebook users quitting the site en masse, unsatisfied by the privacy aspect.
Though, Facebook allows users to download their account information, Facebook makes it hard to exit. Users must wait for two weeks in a 'deactivation' period, after these weeks the account is 'permanently deleted from Facebook. Google already has a much easier system for users exiting services.
If you fear being bombarded with what all the 'friends' are sharing, without being able to pick and choose who you would like to interact with and what level, then you would certainly find more peace at Google+.
In addition, Google is expecting to make changes this week while it is still on the Beta phase. On his Google+ page, Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google, wrote asking his followers to look for changes this week after the service spammed its users on Saturday - an accident caused due to a disk space shortage problem.
Lots of criticism for Google+. We are listening and working to address. Stay tuned for changes this week, Gundotra wrote on his Google+ wall.
On the other hand, Facebook played catch up to Google+ Hangouts feature to offer video chat inside of its pages by partnering with Skype.
Facebook, which has more than 750 million users, has the early mover advantage and has host of third party apps like Zynga's Farmville. Recently, the social networking giant is said to launch a music service.
Tech blogger Jeff Rose claimed on his blog Life is a Graph, that he has uncovered a new Facebook service, possibly referred to internally as vibes and it could be related to the company's rumored music service.
But what Google lacks in social experience, it certainly makes up for in resources and general reach.
Google is the most trafficked site in the world. The plain fact that Facebook doesn't have a search engine will give Google enormous advantage.
With portal-like tendencies, like hosted email and news, and housing the most familiar, and arguably the most effective search engine in existence, Google acts as the front-door to the rest of the Internet.
In May of this year, more than 1 billion people visited Google properties, more than any other company at any point in time.
The implications of this are huge. Instead of creating a social network destination on the Internet, Google can, in-fact, turn the whole of the Internet social.
With recent overtures to partner with Facebook and Twitter rebuffed, Google may have to do just that to accomplish its end-goal.
Meanwhile, the launch of Google Plus private beta has led to many Google Plus users to also sign up for Google Voice.
So far, it seems like almost all the people who signed up for Google Plus also have a Gmail account. Converged view is that there are about 170 million active Gmail users worldwide, Chowdhry added.
Developers have created multiple applications to move users from Facebook and into Google Plus. Move2Picasa application is right now the most popular application to move Photos from Facebook into Google Plus, which uses Picasa for Photos, the analyst said.
We think that with Google Plus, Google has got its Social Networking strategy right, Chowdhry said.