Google's 'delighted' that Facebook underestimates Google+

Google VP Bradley Horowitz takes on Zuckerberg's belief hat Google+ is a 'little version of Facebook'

A Google executive was quick to fire back at Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg's description of Google+ as "their own little version of Facebook."

Zuckerberg made the claim Monday night on PBS's Charlie Rose show. Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg addressed a wide range of topics during an interview with Rose.

The description of Google+ didn't go over so well at Google.

Bradley Horowitz, Googles vice president of product management, made it clear he thinks Google+ is underestimated during an interview on Bloomberg TV Monday night. Horowitz said that's OK by him.

"We are delighted to be underestimated," he said. "It's served us very well to date. That's fine by us."

Google launched the Google+ social network in June and it was immediately seen as a direct competitor to Facebook, still the world's the dominant social network -- Facebook has about 800 million users compared to 40 million so reported so far for Google+.

Horowitz told Bloomberg that Google+ has grown beyond 40 million but declined to say how much.

"That seems like ancient history," he said. "No numbers to announce today but our growth just keeps amazing us. When we first launched Google+, we certainly didn't anticipate the success we've had in just a few months."

Horowitz also said people at Google tend to think of Google+ as a different beast than rival Facebook's social network because it's integrated with the company's other services, like Google search , Maps and Google Apps .

"Google+ is a new way of using all the Google services you know and love," he explained. "The number of Google+ users coming back to Google is staggering. Whenever they come on Google, they are recognized as a Google+ user and get extra engagement for that.

"People have been measuring this as a silo product," he added. "That's not how we think about it. We have created a community and an experience that is uniquely our own. We're looking at what we can do that is special. What isn't meeting [users'] needs with existing services? We have exciting things planned. This is just the beginning."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin , or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is .

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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