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Social Network Trend - Google Plus vs Facebook
It has been a while now that people started bidding friends farewell with a promise to stay in touch through Facebook.  Now there is another option for social networking online - Google+ or Google Plus.  More and more people are now saying, "Let keep in touch through Google Plus."
Facebook is definitely feeling the heat from the competition.  Why else would the Facebook IPO be launched while there is still market turmoil caused by the Eurozone crisis.  Facebook is reportedly planning for it's IPO on Wall Street sometimes in 2012.  It is definitely smart to reap the benefits while the harvest is still good, never the financial crisis caused by the Eurozone debts.
So there would be direct competition between Google and Facebook.  In a way, it is unavoidable. Both internet giants are competing for advertising dollars. 
Google Plus has one main advantage on it's side - it has the advantage of being the market leader for online searches.  So while Facebook is acknowledged as the current market leader for social networking, it is an easily atrophied advantage.  Just look at the example of Friendster which was hip before Facebook overtook it as the preferred social networking site.
Users of online social networks would tend to maintain status quo unless there is a real incentive to change.  That incentive could in the form of a superior search engine.  Users of Facebook would know that it is difficult to keep track of activities, comments and events when one has hundreds or thousands of online friends.  So while Facebook has the advantage of being the incumbent, users can be swayed by a superior networking experience enabled by a good search engine.
The Gmail And Google Apps Advantage
Google Plus also has the advantage of Google Gmail.  So it is easy to persuade netizens to switch from Facebook to Google Plus by making it easy to set up one's network by inviting friends through the Gmail contact list.  Google Plus is also available through Google Apps which has a large following.
Ultimately, there can only be one - it would be too cumbersome to maintain a presence on two separate online social networking sites.  So the battle line has been drawn.  2012 would see who would prevail, Google Plus or Facebook.
Google Plus has been slow on uptake. The average users spend minutes on Google Plus compared with hours on Facebook, according to figures from comScore. However, Google Plus is not just another Facebook any more than Twitter is. It is a different social networking tool altogether. 
With Google Circles, it can be great way for people to build business contacts with hundreds of people who have the same interest, hobbies, or businesses. Perhaps, one can have both Facebook and Google Plus together.