Jul 6, 2011

Facebook founder Zuckerberg is No. 1 page on Google(PLUS)

Any guesses as to who is the most popular person on Google(PLUS), the company's new social networking service? Ashton Kutcher , perhaps? Or Lady Gaga?

Actually, that title is currently held by Mark Zuckerberg , the founder and chief executive of Facebook - the very service that Google(PLUS) was meant to challenge.

As of Tuesday evening, Zuckerberg had nearly 35,000 people following his updates on the service, more than anyone else in a broad survey of Google(PLUS) profiles by Social Statistics, an outside service. His fan base exceeds that of Larry Page , one of the founders of Google and its recently appointed chief executive, who had only 24,000 people following him. 

Facebook also has the world's biggest map of the connections between people. It is not possible to transfer data about one's Facebook connections into Google(PLUS), so most users will have to rebuild that list on the new service. On Tuesday, Facebook blocked an add-on for Google's Chrome browser that was created by an outside programmer and gave people a way to import their Facebook contacts into services like Google(PLUS). Facebook said the add-on violated the company's terms of service.

Google is hoping to bring its new social network to the iPhone and iPad through applications it has submitted to Apple. In the past, Apple has let apps created by Google linger in limbo, without approving or rejecting them.

So far, Google's new social service has generated positive comments from those with early access, in a turnabout from Google's earlier attempts to woo the masses with social services like Wave and Buzz, which were met with lackluster responses and concerns over privacy.

Stephen Shankland , a writer for the technology news service CNet, said that Circles, a feature that lets people sort their friends into groups for more private sharing, was "the biggest improvement, far and away, over Facebook."

Adam Pash , a blogger at Lifehacker, described the service's Hangout feature, which lets people video chat with as many as 10 friends simultaneously, as "the best free video chat we've seen."

"The other 600 million members of Facebook are already heavily invested in Facebook and their FarmVille farms," Owyang said.

Facebook says it is not worried about the competition.

"We're in the early days of making the Web more social, and there are opportunities for innovation everywhere," said Jonny Thaw , a spokesman for the company.

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