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With Facebook being the focal point of media attention lately due to various updates, the news that rival Google’s social networking effort was open to signups didn’t catch the eye of the press as much as it might have done.

Having said that, Google+ has enjoyed a healthy influx of new members, with a 30% (or around 10 million) increase in new users joining the fray; bringing the total up to 43 million. While this is a paltry amount when compared to the 800 million enjoyed by Mark Zuckerberg’s creation, it’s not bad going considering the beta tag.

It’s important to note that these are not official statistics, rather estimates gathered by Ancestry.com co-founder and unofficial Google+ statistician Paul Allen. He and his team of number-collating enthusiasts sample surnames in order to estimate the total number of users on the site.

It will be interesting to see by how much that number increases once the Big G flexes its online marketing and advertising biceps. Facebook has the numbers and longevity, but lest we forget that Facebook’s the world’s second most visited site, and there are no cookies awarded for guessing who tops that list. In theory, Google has a wider reach than Facebook, and certainly has a better opportunity than any other to make Google+ the world’s number one social network.

Despite many of Facebook’s new features serving to improve the world’s largest social networker, its users are renowned for kicking up a fuss whenever a ‘new Facebook’ is phased in – and that trend has continued this time around. There have been many complaints from those who find change a hard concept to grasp, although there has been no sign as yet of a mass exodus to corroborate the angst.

With well over a tenth of the world’s men, women and children actively Facebooking, it will be a mammoth task for Google to overthrow Facebook as it closes in on one billion users. One suspects though, that if any company is going to serve as a threat to Facebook in the near future – it’s going to be Google.

Do you believe that Facebook will see off the inevitable challenge of Google+, or do you reckon Larry Page and friends pose a serious threat to the web’s favorite playground? As ever, leave your thoughts on our Facebook fanpage.

(via Mashable)

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