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Main reasons G+ isn't dead: You're reading this; new features; mobile apps are rad; it's the "social glue" for other products; and... you're reading this. 
John O'Bryan's profile photoAlbert A (Albs)'s profile photoJason ON's profile photoKate O'Connell's profile photo
I'd be curious to see the data on facebook's rise in the first 365 days. It may not seem like a competitor right now but one can't expect that it will gain hundreds of millions of users in the first year of existence. Frankly, I see 150 million active users as quite impressive.
G+ is my favorite. All I get out of my face book is anger and frustration reading people self absorbed status updates. G+ gives me news and interesting shares I keep up with all my favorite you-tubers and online organisations. I always joke that G+ is the best RSS reader out there. 
I like to expand my wiew of the world, so Facebook is not enough. I use both FB & G+ and enjoy their competition - it has improved both of them. Wait until we get good online translation here, then the world is even more open for global interaction.
I don't get content on Facebook anymore I dont see anyone's status just pictures of things people hit like on! Facebook is dead well to me. #google+isntdead
It's definitely not dead. The quality of content and audience is way better than on facebook.
I actually believe that the new "Google Ecosystem" being created by Google is a brilliant move on their part. The future of online revenue is centered around "profiles". By building around the profile, Google is insuring their revenue future.
thanks all for the comments. thoughtful, per usual. good points on the numbers stuff. i think comparing the first yr of FB to the first year of G+ is a little apples-oranges because we're at such a different time in internet history ... but very much appreciate the feedback.
Google really needs to improve hangouts integration with GCalendar. When all of us using GCalendar have a quick link to a hangout built into a fully functional invitation, hangouts will blow up and that will spur a whole lot more activity on G+. The current feature is a step in the right direction, but disappointingly short of the mark.
I just wanted to say that I think G+ has a lot higher ceiling than FB. It has the potential to be more than a "catch up with people of your past" sandbox. Additionally, FB can't keep themselves from "ticking" off their user base. 
While I don't have to see how my ex-classmates and old friends are 90% hot today or look like this or that celebrity, I will say that Google+ is doing great. I like that while using Chrome I can get extensions on Google+ and my photos from my Android smartphone are instantly uploaded to Google+ the only thing I have to do is chose from my computer which ones to upload. The only thing what Google+ needs is publicity in small country's, like my country Latvia, many of my friends get to know about it only from me even after it being online for a year. Also, by using Google maps and typing your business, Google allows you to create and manage your own business page and people will have the access to your site just by one click and that's a real and cheap way to advertise your business. Facebook feels more like meant for children or goths, but here it's more about technology an intelect, while still doing it all in a fun and easy way.
Certainly not dead for those who know why it exists.
Google+ is superior to Facebook because it has a higher standard of entry.

Quality > Quantity. Everytime.
Google+ is alive and kicking. Facebook is for the younger crowd, or the crowd wishing they were still in high school. Yes I use it to keep touch with family but I use Google+ to build my professional connections, explore the world through the connections I have made, and above all make adult friends. Think of it this way, Facebook is high school and Google+ is Graduate school, not all high schoolers are cut out to run with the big boys
Google+ is fine, it certainly is not Facebook, I use both. But I found that Google+ allow me to connect more with people that share my interests more easily, so sure we don't have 900 millions people on it, but don't think that matters for us... 
Personally, Google+ gets far more of my time than Facebook. The quality of interaction is markedly better here, I don't get annoying notifications that my friends need something in Farmville, I see more rational discussions taking place, and despite all the talk of Google being primarily a "marketing company", Google+ feels far less promotional than Facebook or even Twitter.
I have almost completely switched to Google+ from Facebook. I'll admit that the user population is a bit lower. But I view that as a challenge to engage my friends and use the tools not to beat them upside the head with, but to show them how communication in today's age can be. Hangouts, Events, and Photos I feel are all much better on Google+; the ability to organize people into circles is by far more natural that the Facebook lists. Google+ does indeed win Mobile. The other thing to consider is that while comparing Google+ to Facebook today is something required, lets look at Facebook's population at 1 year old. Granted Google is competing with the current iteration of Facebook and not the one from 2005 - but food for thought.

As Google works to integrate all of its products with Google+ (upgrade Google) it will be harder and harder for Facebook to compete. Google just has a larger product offering. Add to that some really amazing R&D items like the +Google Glass project, and people will eventually make the switch. Until then it is up to us, the individual users, to make Google+ a more relevant and engaging place. Your article states that posting on Google+ is like talking into a pillow. Well, we need to make this the best damn pillow talk we've ever had.
I use both google+ and facebook for different reasons. We use g+ to social network within the office only. We create business circles and share ideas between different business groups. We post thoughts on current business trends and get feedback, debate and all the good stuff. It great for us as our business uses google apps, drive, email etc with our own domain. G+ is tightly integrated with single sign on between the different google apps so it only makes sense for us to use it.  We use G+ also to post pictures of business functions, company picnics, site visits etc.Our business has offices in different parts of the world, so Google hangout is also heavily used for conference calls. It really works for us.  
I use facebook on the other hand strictly for personal use. In fact I don't have any people from work, even work friends on Facebook. I like keeping it all completely separate. 
Yes, G+ will live, the question is in what shape and form. To me, G+ is technologically better, but social networking is about the level of engagement and active users and currently there is a network effect from the established players. Being the glue that holds Google together might be a good way to start overcoming the switching barrier.
Nice touch on being able to comment in G+ although it is a gathering of the like-minded.
Dude how can you expect an article that doubts G+ success to trend on G+?   G+ is not Facebook.  From your article, you mention the amount of time people are logged into FB as opposed to G+. The fact is I rarely maybe once a week log into facebook, but I'm always on G+ because its always there in Chrome. I boil it down to this.  G+ improves your Life Facebook sucks it away.
They say most G+ posts are private.  Now how are you going to know that?  
facebook is a great place to see people post about themselves. google+ is a great place to share content with others and to have discussions with interesting people.
Just finished the article, and I feel proud to be an early adopter and a supporter of the vision.  I rarely use Facebook anymore.  I find the content that is available on Google+ to be more interesting and entertaining.

The people seem to engage in more intelligent conversation (notwithstanding the absolutely awkward abundance of Chinese posts on the +Barack Obama page), and the potential to meet new and exciting people is definitely there.

Also, Google has always shown themselves to be so malleable.  Google products are living things, they adapt to survive in the environments they live in, or they die and go away.  I have seen evolution take hold of Google+ and create new and interesting layout and design changes as well as continue to add innovative features that enhance the overall experience (mobile is great!)

Just my 2 cents!  Long live +Google+  
Great article. FB is like when you want to watch that mindless horror movie where everyone dies or that coming of age movie where everyone gets naked. Google+ is for when you want to watch a documentary and feel smarter afterwards. I want to always be able to do either depending on my mood. I am fine with both. 
just so you know John, Google employees laugh at reporters saying Google+ is losing to Facebook. The inside joke at google is that people actually think it's supposed to be competing with Facebook. Google+'s only job is to collect data, and it is doing so at amazingly successful rates. The plan was all along for people to treat it like it's Facebook, but there was never any ambition of beating Facebook because they don't have to, Google is already collecting all the data they need from Facebook without investing the actual resources to compete with them. Google is an ad company, not a social networking company.
I've been using Facebook since you needed an invite.  That's being said, I deleted my Facebook account on Monday and I'm using Google+ as my primary social network.  I've gotten more from G+ in a week than I've gotten in years of using Facebook... no exaggeration.

+John D. Sutter Proof.  Take a look at the "quality" of responses from your article on FB and compare it to the ones presented here at Google+.
I like google+. It is a better source of information and entertainment for me than facebook. I noticed that there are no google+ buttons on the cnn site. Why is that?
It is incredible to me that so many people still do not understand what Google+ IS. It was NEVER 'Facebook for Google'. Since Google+ came out people in the media have kept making that claim and people at Google have kept saying 'no'. Apparently to no avail.

Google+ is ALL OF GOOGLE... "plus" a social 'wrapper' to tie it all together. So instead of Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Picassa, Reader, Google Drive/Apps, Google SEARCH, and a dozen other 'separate products' we are now moving towards all of these being ONE integrated product called 'Google+'. It is leveraging the user base of each of those old Google products to increase the user base of all the others. The 'Facebook like social site' is just the window dressing for tying all of those features together.

As to usage comparisons to Facebook: The 'time spent' study was a particularly fascinating example of cognitive dissonance... they determined that the vast majority of people who are 'merely logged in to Google+' are actually spending their time in GMail or YouTube and thus excluded that time. Yet time spent on Facebook reading e-mail or watching videos was included because those aren't 'separate services'. See the problem?

Ditto the bit about Google+ having ONLY 150 million monthly users to Facebook's 900 million. It took Facebook four years to reach 150 million monthly users. Google+ did it in less than one. Google+ has continuously grown faster than Facebook did. When Internet Explorer came out it was tiny compared to Netscape Navigator... but it grew faster and took over. Ditto Android vs iPhone. Ditto Facebook vs MySpace. So long as Google+ continues to grow faster than Facebook did, it is simply ridiculous to claim that it is 'failing'.
Users spend 7.5 hours per month on Facebook? This only makes sense if you factor in the endless hours of trying to find and adjust Facebook's privacy settings.
If I wanted a virtual conference room full of people announcing whatever's on their mind at any given time, I'd be on Facebook.  Personally, I prefer having conversations with people who share my interests or whose opinions I'd like to learn more about; G+ allows me to do that in a convenient manner.
I find G+ to be much more interesting than Facebook, period.  On G+, I find people with shared interests discussing issues and approaches to their interests. On FB, I find a lot of postings about weather, personal relationships, and all too-personal complaints.  (I have yet to experience the outpouring of personal whining that I've seen on Facebook, for example, on G+.)  It's so easy to set up events, chats, and hangouts on G+ that it puts FB to shame.  Love Circles, which make it extraordinarily easy to share with select groups of people.  Those who presume that G+ is dead must not be regular users...or don't understand how it can be used.  Perhaps G+ is "much chided" where you live or work, but not in my neck of the woods.
I also Want to point out that Facebook is about who you know, while Google Plus is about what you know. In many ways, Google Plus is more of a competition to Twitter than Facebook. While Twitter and Facebook may have the numbers, Google Plus has the technology and resources. While I have no doubt the three will survive for many years to come, Google Plus will always be one step ahead and offer so much more. 
Nice read. And yes, you successfully goaded me into posting on G+ after months of inactivity.

Without really even making an effort, I've become enveloped in the Google network. Play store, G+, gmail, youtube, google maps, probably some others that I don't realize yet. Kind of scary, but kind of cool at the same time.

This article has made me look at how I use Google services versus how I think I use Google services.
You have to remember that FB has been around 8 years, and really got in at the right time when MySpace was dying. Google+ will slowly build and, the fact remains, G+ is not really trying to replace FB, per se. Half of my friends on FB should be over here, the other half would do better staying. Different strokes for different folks. GooglePlus is doing what Google wants it to do - integrate all their products. 
I use G+ because i feel more control over information flow. FB is fine place for teens and people without any concrete interesting. They use FB only to 'use it'. Just as in schoolbreak - chatting without any sense. G+ is different. My information and my comments and publications reach only to those with similar interests and i can control what information is directed to me. It is main advantage ove FB.
@ +Allen Edwards  : How to known "that most posts are private"?  Only Goggle will know that, but all of us can guess from our own behaviour and from what we see in our timelines/streams.

My last public post is from 2012-05-30, and I post some 10 items every weekday.

Except for posts by pages and the like since this morning I had 14 public posts in my timeline/stram, and 19 non-public ones.
I just posted what I expect to be my last entry on Facebook and expect to use G+ as my default social network from now on. Yes, it's not as 'busy' as G+, but that's like saying that the nice bar you go to in order to talk to interesting people isn't as noisy as the nightclub down the road.
If you're going to try and make meaningful comparisons from one to the other I'd rather think about how many times I'm engaged in a proper conversation with people I don't really know (ie, gaining some new insight). It almost never happened in Facebook, but it happens a lot on G+.
+Robert Elliot It's a standard journalistic style thing. You always play up the underdog and put down anything that might be likely to succeed. It's a great way to create a story out of something that's otherwise less interesting (ie, "Google Plus grows fast and works well" would sound like the writer was just kowtowing to Google's own press department).
+John D. Sutter   I think your article is an embarrassing piece of garbage, designed as linkbait, rather than to inform anyone. The incredibly stupid suggestion that Google + is losing the "numbers game to Facebook" gives you away as someone who writes about things you know nothing of. 
Google+ allows me to engage mainly on a professional level, Facebook (when I log in) only keeps me engaged on a personal level.
I love Google Plus. And remember, G+ it`s only a baby :-)
Love to Hang Out.
And i love that people in here are here for other reasons than on facebook.
Her you can learn a lot of your interests, if you want to :-)
Everybody is helping in here.
Thanks #Google  
I think one of the most glaring differences between Google+ and Facebook is user experience. Where Facebook is constantly breaking, being changed in negative ways by the management, etc. Every time I log in to Google+, it's an amazing experience. Their mobile app? Beautiful! That's the biggest difference to me. User experience. Where Facebook is consistently piss poor (what does it do well? When to you not look at it sideways and think "oh it's broken again"?) Google+ consistently works as advertised in a way that makes me want to use it more.
I know this has been said, but why is a comparison between the number of active facebook users and the number of active G+ users even relevant?  I get so weary hearing these comparisons.  I wonder how many active users were on facebook after less than a year of public exposure?  That is more relative comparison.  I had a facebook account for a long time before I ever engaged with it, and I see that happening on G+ s well.
Everyone I know who didn't "get it" here, also didn't engage and expected to be entertained.  Frankly I am not interested in doomsday statistics when it's all I can do to keep up with the fantastic engagement I have found here!
+John D. Sutter   You wrote "Here's a look at a few -- and unexpected -- reasons Google Plus is clinging to relevance in the Facebook era."   CLINGING?  Are you serious?   Whilst you use some friendly key words, you are not that much further from some of your media predecessors who are clueless to groundbreaking innovations and activities which have taken place or continue to emerge here.  

For some reason the picture of an OSTRICH came to mind while reading your article.  While you and media types of similar ilk continue to have your heads in the sand, busy with regurgitating stale topics (truly, G+  vs. FB is a very dead horse) you have missed opportunities to write about exciting innovations and incredible human experiences/trends taking place throughout the world.  Too bad so sad.  
Chiming in as a very happy G+ user. I have found my G+ experience to be far superior in all ways to my Facebook experience. Indeed, I have yet to return to Facebook since starting G+. The numbers of people on G+ is less, but the interactive experience and content is far, far superior on G+.

Combine that with the mobile app and the fact that my Google account is my everything account on the web, from email to Disquss, it's hard to see why I would ever log into Facebook.

Circles is brilliant, plus public circles makes creating your own, custom, lively stream easy.

It's no contest. G+ is the winner for me.
+Sam Rosenthal go to the post in question and in the dropdown menu (small arrow top right) you can mute the post and I believe if someone + mentions you you will still get the notification but not all the others.  to go to any post from notification window, click the date stamp.  hope it helps
+John D. Sutter, Google+ is kind of more like Twitter than Facebook in the sense that most of your friends and family aren't probably using it, but you follow people with similar interests to you. I think Facebook will eventually fizzle out and G+ will continue to grow. Without a doubt G+ is way better Facebook... FB people even say that. It's just hard to get people using G+ when everyone is on a different social network. Facebook is making people more mad and people are starting to leave.
+John D. Sutter did you have to be so condescending in the post? I hope FB goes the way of Myspace pretty soon. That'll teach you a lesson. Just because you don't get G+ doesn't mean it's a ghost town. 
One thing I never see in these articles is how fabulous G+ is for the photographic community in a way Facebook could never be. 
+Janice La Mere Hackney that's such a good point. it does display photography beautifully. +Brock Wayne sorry if you think the post is condescending. it's arguing why google+ is still relevant and is NOT a ghost town, so i don't think i quite agree, but i appreciate the feedback. there is a fair bit of snark in there, i suppose.
+John D. Sutter I guess a a little snark and controversy gets reaction, and pleases those not on G+. Likely your larger audience  Still you received post after post of accolades about how amazing it is, and even those that didn't fully approve shared what was working for them.  Your article seemed to by pass the point of your original request: To get responses for your article as to why G+ is working.
It is not that photography is displayed so beautifully, its that the community of photographers are so amazing. Daily themes, scavenger hunts, projects, encouragement, training - the list goes on. for some of us, G+ has been life-changing (me included). 
+Ron Clifford i do think g+ is alive (witness the discussion here) and that's why i wrote the article. again, i did not mean to offend so i'm sorry if the title or the tone was offensive. but my point is that this network in fact IS relevant, even though many other tech writers have long declared it dead.
+John D. Sutter I think it's that all the non users, never see the active and lively discussion going on.  I realize you were giving reasons it's not dead, but I still felt an overtone or underpinning of your, "well yet".  I get it, and your readers will respond and hopefully get more educated.  I just get quite defensive of the amazing community that has developed.  I would love to see that same enthusiasm in other G+ communities as well.
It's funny I don't see Google as competing with Facebook any more then Twitter is, or Pinterest is.

Facebook is like having a office in large building, and having lots of business cards. You hand out lots of them, every time you meet someone, people carry them around in their wallets, and when you are out to dinner and you run into a person they may say "hey, lets do lunch" but that never happens. Your friends have them too, and may call you up during the day to tell you they are meeting up for lunch. 

Google+ is like living in a small town. You have a choice when you move to town, you can stay at home and not really participate in the community, in which case you just kinda live there. Or you say Hi to Mr Smith while talking a walk to the store, and when Mr Green next door grabs his paper Mr. Smith will introduce you. You'll see each other at the coffee shop on sunday afternoon, you'll introduce him to Mrs Hatch who you ran into and decided to grab coffee with and you'll actually all sit down together. 

The people that get that, get a lot out of Google+. Sadly most people don't really get that. The more you interact, the more people interact with you. Just look at the vibrant Photography Community. G+ is just as useful to writers, or anyone else. 

Look at Trey Ratcliff on Facebook he posted a little piece on photographing people, same thing was posted on Google+. On Facebook there are 700 likes, and 79 comments. On Google+ there are 1967 +1s and 309 comments and, the simple reason for that is that plusers interact, they get the social part of social media. 

Google+ is the first site to offer true social media in a long time. It will take time for people to understand that, after all Facebook isn't social, it's a collection of names. 
Great piece. I see G+ having a watershed moment when all of Google's services across mobile and web coalesce with G+. I see people using it without even realizing they are, using it to coordinate, communicate and connect. It will happen subtly and slowly over time until all of a sudden we no longer see a separation between what Google is and what Google+ is.
I love G+.  My group of friends uses it so much more than Facebook because we don't have to contend with all the FB advertising crap.  No advertising, no games, no apps, no surveys.  Its just friends discussing things.  I don't have to sift thru garbage to find what I want.
I love G+ more and more (slowly I must say) my real friends are joining the site but I'd like to keep G+ and FB apart tbh. I've got much more out of G+ than I have FB. I'm in more people's circles on here than I have 'friends' on FB.

Maybe the features and the API's are missing but every other feature G+ has done better and the fact that 'apparently' no adds will be coming to the site is great.

I really like how you could use G+ to connect with strangers and brands (+Cadbury UK ) as well as close friends whereas before you had to use twitter (well you could use FB to add strangers) to connect and communicate with strangers for help or to discuss things but it's much more efficient to use G+. For example I've managed to help the +CyanogenMod  project through this by donating wallpapers (without G+ I don't think this would have happened) and also got lessons and tips via hangouts on how to use Adobe Camera RAW.

This site is a great competitor to facebook it's just very misunderstood.
I've also found it's very useful for finding information out. I follow loads of 'blogs' about technology and even if many are about same thing it's rare I see same story twice
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Google+ isn't a Facebook competitor.  They serve two entirely different purposes.  Facebook is for old friends/family, while Google+ is about your interests and interacting with people who share those interests.  I use both, right along with Twitter (which is great for updates from live events).

People keep taking this bizarre 'Facebook or Google Plus: Choose!' stance.  It's pretty absurd.
The "G+ is a ghost town" mentality only applies to those who think this place runs like facebook - where you only connect with friends, family, & other people you used to know.  

G+ is fantastic in my opinion.  G+ actually gives me tools and information to control and know who will see my posts - I love the privacy control and that when something I'm about to do will change the visibility of a picture or post, G+ tells me so I know my options.  That mindset is completely antithetical to the way FB operates.    Having a social network that actually lets me control privacy is a breath of fresh air!  It is exactly those privacy controls that allow people to connect with others that aren't their friends & family!  

I think people still post on facebook primarily because other people still post on facebook.  It is difficult to rebuild all of those connections, or at least enough of them to be willing to completely disconnect from it.  I tried to nearly completely disconnect from FB in the early days, but most of my friends & family stayed behind.  So eventually I reconnected there even though I really didn't want to (and still don't).  But nonetheless, I've made many new connections here that I would have never had before, and that makes it worth coming back.  I eventually hope to delete my FB account when I can make all the connections I need to here on G+.  
So I found this post because of another post from +J.C. Kendall and I was intrigued about his article and what could have spurned it. So a quick google and I found this post and have read all the comments; I have +1'd those I agree with and shaken my head at those I don't ( maybe there should be a -1!)
Now IMHO this article has done exactly what journalism is about, it's got people talking; people are sharing their views of their experiences of both facebook and google+, so anyone interested in the subject can read all those differing and agreeing comments and make their own informed opinion; and I hasten to add, this would not have happened on facebook, as it serves a different purpose.
Surely this is what good journalism is about; how many of you watch the TV news and something is said which either sparks a discussion or sets you off finding out more about the subject to enable you to make an informed and judged opinion.
Facebook actively encourages its users to spam each other. Google+ is for now the exact opposite - insightful commentary is rewarded, while mindless drivel and "share this if...!" posts get you silently ignored, While this is largely a side effect of a highly technical user base that doesn't tolerate noise, it's something to learn from. I think a good social network has to be a slight bit antisocial to be useful. 

Facebook may be #1 right now, and will probably stay that way for at least a couple more years, but they are repeating MySpace's mistakes.  As the quality of the interactions there continue to go down, people will eventually start to take refuge elsewhere, and the cycle will probably repeat again.

I'm hoping by that point Google has learned from everyone else's mistakes - they have the technical know-how to filter out the BS and make a great service, the question is do they have the will...
+Ruth Wood Your view is intriguing.  Are you saying it is ok to ignore facts, continue to propagate spurious information and if that instigates discussion, that is what journalism is all about?  

Whatever happened to representing accurate depiction of different views in order to generate healthy debate?  Also, do errors of omission not bother you?  

The fact this article is an Opinion Editorial rather that actual "news" does not relief the author of the responsibility for accuracy.
Well +su ann lim I guess I'm coming at this from a different in the UK, I know nothing about this journalist, so have no pre-disoposed opinions about his style of journalism or who he is or who he represents.  I read +J.C. Kendall post and was intrigued by his had to read the original content.  As I said, not having any background on +John D. Sutter I read his article at face value, and the comments after the article, the majority of which were in favour of Google+ and disagreed with the argument within.
My opinion of journalism has always been that there is a fair degree of the journalists own thoughts and prejudices in any article or argument, whether they are trying to be as unbiased as possible or not; and reading articles allows people to explore the subject further, by reading other articles and making an informed decision on the information they have gathered.  As a middle-aged person, this is a lot easier to do now with the internet and all the information that is out there, than it was when I was in my 20s or 30s, when the majority of opinion came from newspapers and your parents and peer groups, and discussions in the pub!
Also. a person who is able to put across the opposite of the argument, is usually one who believes in the 'for' of the argument....I well remember my college debating days, and one lesson I learnt from that, was: if you could put across the opposite of the argument that you actually agreed with, then you would win the argument, as you completely understood both sides.
I agree with most of your general comments about the value of debate.  (I'm rather partial to an occasional lively debate in a pub myself).  
However, in this case, as well as in the articles cited, pivotal DATA  presented (not opinion) was previously publicly discredited.  The fact that this journalist leveraged known incorrect information upon which to base his views perpetuates misconceptions particularly in readers like yourself  who may not have encountered the situation before and thus accept the latest (rehashed) iteration at face value.  

Out of curiosity, you did not answer my question regarding
whether or not you believe journalists have a responsibility to be accurate in the public domain. Do you?
We need to remember that this is a strategic move by Google, and as their various products integrate with G+ its usefulness and attraction to new users will increase exponentially, even if they are already satisfied with Facebook.  Remember, Facebook won't be able to compete on many of these things even if they buy up companies to bolt stuff on.

Year one was the fight for survival and establishing turf.  In that G+ has succeeded well.  Year two will be about full Google integration, rounding out the feature set and ramping up the user base dramatically.  I think that looking at where G+ is then would be more useful then anything now.

Of course the whole "social" aspect of G+ is just one facet of the greater Google whole.  For Facebook it is everything, and that is their weakness in contradiction to what one would view as a strength.
I think for a fairer representation of the numbers (while 900Mn and 150Mn are vastly different numbers, they're not directly comparable), one needs to normalize the figures. Even to say "how many users did FaceBook have in its first 12 months" wouldn't be a fair normalization (to FaceBook) since: A) there were a lot less people on the internet when FaceBook started; B) when FaceBook started, they were only opened to a subset of the Internet at the time (so, more akin to Plus's open-beta period); C) there wasn't nearly as much consciousness of social media at the time that FaceBook launched; D) there wasn't quite as much "there's gotta be better alternatives" driving FaceBook's growth (yes, I'm intentionally ignoring MySpace).

Overall, I think if we wanted to normalize our numbers to try to determine "who's winning" you'd need to probably try to compare both quarter-to-quarter growth rates (not numbers of subscribers, but the percentage change in subscribers) for as long as possible. You'd also need to come up with a standard metric for what constitutes an active user. I mean, Yeah, there's 900Mn people on FaceBook, but how many of that 900Mn: logs into their news feed each day; posts to their wall each day; comments on others activities; etc. Given the number of sites that leverage FaceBook for their comments sections, login systems and the like, just because you're using FaceBook services doesn't mean you're actively conversing on FaceBook. Subtract these infrastructure-type activities and games, apps and frictionless sharing activities, how many of FaceBook's 900Mn people are actually "active on FaceBook".

Now, it might just be the recent algorithm changes that have caused it, but, from my own experience, there's a LOT less activity on FaceBook than on Plus (and I have roughly the same number of connections on both sites - about 200 or so). So, from where I'm sitting, it feels like there's a lot more people on Plus than on facebook.
Also, as far as the numbers go, it's not necessarily user base that matter, but whether the users that are here can find their friends or get them to come over. If I have 100 friends and they are all here, then G+ can be a compelling experience for me, and it doesn't matter from my perspective whether there's a million or a billion users.

Comparing user base neglects the point - how many people are here that are actually worth interacting with.
I'm not sure if I'm commenting because it was an interesting article or because I want to get super meta.
Can't wait to try out the event feature and SO happy it has calendar integration-finally!
I think the new event feature will help G+ out.  I know it's always hard to try and track down and consolidate all of the pictures from events with lots of people.

Now the trick will be what happens when a bunch of bad camera phones are taking the pictures...?
Nice article +John D. Sutter has a bit of balance.  Facebook has the numbers no doubt about that but what Google Plus lacks in numbers it makes up for in two areas;  1. The Long Game:  Google will support Plus as its the glue that links up it services and it shake a little social sparkle on these services.  2.  Incremental growth starting with passionate users then moving onto those people who when using Google brush up against Google Plus.  These will start to use Plus more. Sure not for seven hours but more than three minutes.

Tech writers treat Facebook and Google Plus as something akin to the twins in David Cronenberg's  film Dead Ringers 'separation can be a terrifying thing' .  Some can only talk about Plus in terms of comparing it to Facebook.  I think over the next year or two with the way Google integrate Plus with its other services Plus will evolve into something unique.  

As for Facebook my friends are on it, I am not, I miss out but on Google Plus I have my interests and passionate people share those  interests.  Photography being one.  Some of the users I meet who are on Facebook simply put up with it.
+John D. Sutter If you'd written an article about Facebook's 1 year birthday, it would have read a lot like this one.  MySpace would have been the dominant "social space" and Facebook would have looked like a poorly used, segregated upstart that only appealed to college kids, whereas MySpace would have looked like a juggernaut that was getting all the users.  Yet, we know how that one turned out.

I think expecting G+ to have eclipsed Facebook (assuming competing with Facebook is even the point of G+) barely a year after its launch isn't realistic.  A year after it's launch, Facebook wasn't yet Facebook ... not even close.  It takes time for social networking to gain a core audience, and that audience will grow organically as people find things they enjoy.
Took me a while but I found Google+, because it was on my menu bar as +You. Now it is my name +Quentin. It can be hard to sell a product if the name keeps changing.
+Dennis Carpenter : yes, Our profile is quite critical for google to serve ads and also of course give us better content.
They make their products better and also get more profit. A win -win, imo. :)
Thanks for the nice article about Google+ +John D. Sutter  :)
Here is my take: Google Plus is just one year baby and it is growing faster and faster.
+John D. Sutter : yes, FB,Twitter and g+ first years are in quite different times. 
I believe the point of comparing the first years was intended to bring a common fact about social networks/layers, ie they take time to reach a huge audience. Both networks would have had less number of users than the dominant networks in their first years, but that doesnt mean that they are empty ghost towns since they didnt grab all the people in their first year and overthrow other networks. ;) :)
I feel that most of the negative articles about g+ is trying to show that they are failing in their first year in not catching up with FB!!!
Many times I feel that the 'Ghost Town' articles are just spread to give negative PR to g+ and push people away. :(
+Armands Padrevics : yes, g+ needs to get more exposure to reach to more people especially in developing countries and the smaller ones. g+ has to be a global network where it simply connects varied people.
I'm more interested in how they are planning to get Orkut to be taken away and merge with g+. those users may be notified to get into g+. :)
+c.c. keiser : I feel that even if we have the FB crowd here, we should not have any issues. Thats the power of g+, you have control over what you wish to see. just put the FB friends in a circle and reduce their slider to 0. :) You can check that circle later whenever you want without them messing up your stream.

Also I believe that people got used to silly msgs in FB, so they also post the same. Who knows as they come over here, they may get better. ;)
+Nicholas Luthy : yes, we users have to promote g+ as much as possible. And once g+ becomes the social layer across every google product, it will be quite formidable. :)
 FB is not going to sit around, they are going to catch as fast as they can to best features of g+. ;)
Competition is great for us. :)
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