For all the hype that Google+ has been getting over the last few months, I see a long way to go before it’s a go-to network for businesses.

Take for example Mastercard. Their Facebook ‘likes’ vs. Google ‘plusses’ is pretty telling: 128,000 to 11.

There’s a lot of people between those two numbers. A lot.

Before we go all crazy bashing on Google+, we should consider that it’s only been around since the end of June (though the ‘plus 1’ buttons were being tested even before then) while  Facebook has been tracking ‘likes’ (and previously ‘fans’) for several years.

But still, this is quite the gap considering Google+ boasts some 40 million users.

And yet we should ponder one other possibility:

perhaps the +1 is a closer approximation of true online engagement. I find it hard to believe that a company with the marketing resources like Mastercard can only muster 11 Google ‘plusses’…unless their 128k on Facebook isn’t really what it seems.

Perhaps the issue is less with the Google+ numbers and more with Facebook’s.

Facebook has made it far too easy to game their ‘liking’ system. I know for a fact that you will gain ‘likes’ just by running ads. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. And don’t forget the countless iPad/iPhone/random electronic device giveaways that clutter the socialsphere—all designed to merely gain ‘likes’.

Google has yet to release a feature for advertisers to gain ‘plusses’ directly from ads and I haven’t seen brands pushing giveaways-for-plusses yet. Perhaps, for now, the ‘plusses’ a brand gains from Google are much more likely to be genuine recommendations than Facebook’s ‘likes’.

And this all makes me wonder how much 11 ‘plusses’ is really worth. Maybe a lot more than we are giving credit for.

So maybe Google+ isn’t quite there yet but maybe Google really does know what it’s doing.

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