Google chairman Eric Schmidt says that there's "a lot more to come" from Google+ and that it's been unfairly compared to Facebook.
Google's executive chairman went on the defensive when pressed about the perceived lack of success of Google's social networking effort, Google+.
Eric Schmidt was on good form during the talk at Google's Big Tent event taking place just outside of London but was keen to defend against recent rumours that Google is rethinking its commitment to Google+.
"What I like is that these rumours create a target from internals [internal figures] we don't have, comparing us to a competitor that is exceedingly well managed, well-run and is 12 years old," he stated.
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"Google+ is doing better than I expected given the competitors in the market and the success [of Facebook]. Do I think it's a success? Absolutely. Absolutely."
Schmidt made the point – somewhat justifiably – that Facebook has had time to evolve and that expecting instant success from Google+ is unfair.
"If Google is as successful with Google+ in less than the 12 years Facebook has been around we'll be very happy with that," he said. "The fact of the matter is that maybe Google is one of those companies where we can't really grow [things] any more – we have to start huge.
"The reality is that our Google+ efforts started in the last 6-12 months. I think we've announced our numbers - more than 150 million users."
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And Schmidt also said that Google has great plans for features within Google+. "The ways that people are using Google+ is in ways that make sense to us. Hangouts appears to be the current breakout product. We have a lot of stuff coming."
Google's executive chair was also keen to point out the other benefits of the service for both Google itself and for end users in terms of more effective search results – going beyond a pure user-facing social network.
"From our perspective there's value in creating that social graph, independent of whether Google+ is an end user success, which we obviously want. Don't you think that YouTube will be better if we have information on who your friends are, targeting videos for you?
"Don't you think that with Google Search - again I must stress with your permission - that Google will do a better job [if it knows] who you are and what you care about. It [will make] Google more effective. We're already beginning to see that in our core business."
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