An executive from Facebook has lashed out at Google+, the search engine giant’s increasingly popular social networking service.

The Facebook executive said that Google+ has no users, and that it lacks originality. The comments were made by Sean Ryan, Facebook’s director of game partnerships.

“Google has emulated aspects of our system, which is what they have the right to do. We just need to be better, Ryan was quoted as saying by a CNN Fortune report.

Gaming Spat

It seems that Ryan was responding to Google’s attempt to lure game developers to its platform with a more attractive revenue sharing model.

This revenue is derived from online players, who either pay to play online or pay to acquire virtual goods within the game.

Both social networks take a cut of the sales, but at the moment Facebook takes a 30 percent cut of the revenue, whereas Google+ takes just five percent.

“Google is at 5 percent because they don’t have any users,” Ryan was quoted as saying.

He then went to compare Google+ tactics to McDonalds taking a leaf out of Starbucks or Costa’s book by selling premium coffee.

Whilst some may dismiss the comments as a tiny spat over online gaming revenues, in actual fact this is an increasingly important area for companies, as online gaming revenues are predicted to be an important revenue stream for the social networking websites.

The Fortune report for example quoted research from investment bank ThinkEquity, that predicts that the global virtual goods market (from online games etc) is expected to more than double to $20.3 billion by 2014.

Google+ Popularity

Of course it is still early days for Google+. It was only launched in late June, but it already has an estimated 25 million members.

Facebook has an estimated 750 million users, but in comparison it took Mark Zuckerberg’s outfit ten months to reach just one million users, way back in 2004.

A recent YouGov poll found that Google+ is enjoying user engagement at the expense of rival social networks Facebook  and Twitter. YouGov and Bloomberg together surveyed 1,003 online adult users in the US from July 29 to August 2 and found 45 percent of Google+ users said they read content once a day or more. That compares to 62 percent of Facebook users who said they read Facebook content daily.

It also expects another 16 million US users to join the new social network over the coming year.

Google recently announced that users who are signed into their Google accounts, will see Google+ posts shared publicly on search results if they’re connected  on the Google+ network. And users of the Google Books book service can now both share information about books they are reading with their Google+ Circles, and +1 them (a button that acts as the equivalent of Facebook’s Like button.)

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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