With over 153 million unique users per month, Nielsen research has named Google the top Internet destination. Facebook, which is the most visited social networking site and second largest Internet destination, received an average number of 137.6 million unique monthly visitors. The combination of the battle to be the top Internet destination, the inevitable Facebook IPO, and the continued growth of the Google+ is sure to intensify the Facebook/Google rivalry in 2012.
Industry analyst Rob Enderle recently told reporters that 2012 is vitally important to Facebook’s survival:
“This is a fight for survival for Facebook — and for relevancy for Google. What happens in 2012 will make the difference between whether there is a Facebook by the end of the decade and whether Google can become truly relevant outside of search.”
While most individuals would argue that Facebook is more likely to be valued at $100 billion in 2012 than have to “fight for survival,” the continued growth of Google+ could easily cut into Facebook’s market share by the end of the year.
Paul Allen, the founder of Ancestry.com and a trusted tech author who has been closely following Google+ since its beginning, blogged that 24.01% of ALL Google+ users signed up in December. If the December signups rate (equates to 625,000 new users per day) continues, Google+ will reach 100 million users before the end of February and nearly 300 million users by the end of the year. However, Allen is predicting that the Network Effect will power Google+ to a “breakout year” and that the new social network will end the year with over 400 million users.
Whether or not Google+ reaches 400 million users in 2012, the new social network is sure to have impacted Facebook and its long-term strategy. The events of next year are sure to impact the long-term strategy and success of Google, Google+, and Facebook.