The simple observation is that Google+ is trying to be Facebook and won't make it because it doesn't have the same critical mass of mainstream users. I say "yet". Comparing Google+ to Facebook is like comparing the dashboard of a BMW to an entire Mercedes Benz. The right comparison, if there is one, is to compare Google with Facebook.
Yesterday I read yet another commentary on the demise of Google+ by a myopic marketer using a tool that is less than a year old and couldn't resist a rebuttal. In this age of rapid innovation and transient clientele, it is not wise to dismiss any new connecting tool in the social space, especially one created by the world's greatest conduit to data, knowledge, and online culture.
Comparing Apples to Thanksgiving Turkey Dinners
Comparisons between Google+ and Facebook only account for the time that people spend looking at each of their stream-like social interfaces. In the same way that you might send messages, sign up for an event, or link to an article or video from Facebook, Google's offering needs to be similarly regarded.
Google+ is the sharing backbone of Google - all of Google - every service they have in their formidable collection of useful services. I'm confident that Facebook isn't nearly as dismissive of the challenge Google presents as some of the pundits are.
Facebook Needs To Be Popular
As Facebook launches its new career as a public company today, more than a few analysts recently have acknowledged that the Facebook product IS the people who use it. Without the content that we, the users, share into our news feed (sorry, "Timeline"), there is no Facebook and the network's success depends on it continuing to be the place where the critical mass visits and shares regularly. As soon as it loses our interest, even a little, the house of cards is likely to fall.
The argument that Google+ is less potent because less people use it than Facebook is valid - from a Facebook point of view. The reason we use Facebook is because a critical mass of the people we know are there. That's why I use and enjoy it every day.
In contrast, Google+ continues to grow at an astonishing rate despite not possessing that critical mass of people we know. Millions of people have found Google+ useful for reasons other than the one reason we all use Facebook. Imagine what will happen if and when it does reach a tipping point and your parents and kids start sharing their lives with you by hitting the +1 continuously across the entire web.
That observation is why I continue to recommend this new network, still in its infancy, to my clients and friends.
Top: A pic of the Ford Edsel, often the symbol of commercial failure. That won't be Google's fate any time soon.
Note: Yes, I changed the title of this post. I thought it was too harsh. Reading another commentary taking a a surface view of the matter got the best of me.