THOUGHT: My latest view on Google+ is that they need to move quickly to have tablet apps specifically Flipboard, Editions and Zite. I've also observed that since Facebook has changed its feed, the audience is less interested in new-focused posts, and seem to be enjoying funny pictures.
Part of the picture phenomenon you are seeing relates to Facebook's PageRank algorithm, which considers posts containing media to be more relevant to its users, thus making them more likely to appear in the Top News section of a news feed. Also, Tom, you are right on about the way G+ is actively pushing away developers. A network can't be built within an anti-social framework and expect to succede. Finally, Google recently (quietly) announced that G+ will support fake identities instead of requiring users to "be" themselves. This tells me it has given up on making G+ a mainstream option for people to use as their primary network, & is instead shifting to make it a secondary, niche, network.
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