The topic of conversation in the social media space for the past week or so has been about the changes Facebook announced last week during it f8 Conference. But while the dust is still settling and the love/hate comments continue to pile in, Google+ quitely made some news of its own. 

I, like most of you, waited patiently for the news re: Facebook's latest round of changes. And I, like most of you, am still disseminating just what they all mean for both individuals and brands alike. I wrote a post What The Changes To Facebook Mean To Marketers And Advertisers last week in which I give a high level overview of Timeline and Open Graph and what marketers and advertisers need to do going forward. google+

And while Amazon Wants A Piece Of The Social Media And Social Games Pie and Bing Continues To Add Social Media Features, Google, very quietly some might say - which is shocking considering it's Google, made news over the past week or so by opening up Google+ to the masses and the results have been overwhelming. 

According to data from Experian Hitwise...

  • Visits to Google Plus increased by 1269% following the release of Google+ to everyone
  • In the US alone, Google+ received 15 million visits, compared to the little more than 1 million the week before the grand opening, if you will
  • In Hitwise's Social Networking and Forums category, Google+ rose from 54th to 8th in overall rankings

And as the folks at ReadWriteWeb point out, "That's not all the traffic, either. These stats don't include mobile users or visits from the ubiquitous black Google toolbar. The data still show that Google Plus is disproportionately comprised of "influencers" and "early adopters" compared to other social networks, but the removal of invitations seems to have jump-started visits to the service."

So while Mark Zuckerberg basks in the glow of the Timeline et al, and 500 million daily active users, Google keeps on trucking with the number of users at or around 43 million and growing. Google is also poised to officially announce the creation of the much-anticipated Business Profiles on Google+. In case you missed it, when Google+ first came to be, some brands tried to set up Business Profiles - Mashable, Sesame Street to name a few, only to see Google put the kibosh on them. To date, there are only two officially recognized Business Profiles on Google+ - Ford Motor Company and General Motors. 

However that hasn't stopped some others from cropping up such as Verizon, Snapple and Starbucks. These were apparently "set up surreptitiously by companies, fans or squatters registering the brand name" as reported in Ad Age. But fear not legitimate businesses worried that an impostor is staking its claim, Google is watching... "It's not a land-grab situation," said Google spokesman Jim Prosser. "Right now it's very clear, because there's only two business we're testing with, so in a very binary way, it's clear that anyone who's acting as a business on there [is not authentic]."

Not to belabor the Business Profile topic but one thing to keep in mind when they do become available to everyone and every business, it will not be like Twitter where only account could be created for one given name. If you recall there was a mad land-grab as Twitter became more popular and many big name brands realized they missed the boat and had to either pay for their Twitter handle or create a different one, then slap the Verified Account label on its profile. With Google+ there will be no such limit as one name can be registered multiple times. Google+ will however provide those legitimate businesses and representatives therein with a similar type of verification badges to identify the real from the fake. 

Facebook's World Dominance... For Now

There's a chart (to the right) going around which shows Facebook's dominance in the online space. I first saw it on allthingsd.com and the writer of the post which included the chart uses the line "... Google is so freaked out about Facebook." The writer was referring to the obvious stranglehold Facebook has right now. But call me crazy but I don't think Google isfacebookfreaked out, freaked in or freaked anything when it comes to Facebook or any other social media network or platform. 

Why? Well as Josh Spiegel, one of our Search Marketing Managers likes to say... "Because it's Google."

And you can be damn sure many others are taking the same approach...

"We're always looking at new opportunities to engage our fans. We've been monitoring Google+ since it launched and will actively seek ways to incorporate our brands when the time is right." - Robert Stone, Director of Interactive for the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

"Given Google's strong track record, both +1 and Google+ are platforms that we are closely watching. We are most interested in +1 because of its potential impact on search." - Michael Zuna, Chief Marketing Officer of Aflac

Sources: Google Images, Ad Age, ReadWriteWeb, All Things Digital, The Star Group, While Facebook Changes, Google+ Grows... A Lot