In social media, Facebook has been the leader everyone imitates for several years. Google (GOOG) tried a few times and came up short. But this month, that changed: Google+ is a formidable social media platform that matches Facebook in many ways and surpasses it in others, like realtime group video chat. Facebook quickly responded with its own video chat service, but couldn’t match Google’s. This back and forth is likely to continue for some time.
The question facing Google+ is whether the positive reception that beta users are having over the social service will cross over to a mainstream audience already familiar with Facebook. If better privacy is in fact a big factor for many people, then Google+ could easily become so popular enough that Facebook will be forced to improve its own privacy policies.