Google sees Facebook as an existential threat and is going after it with a vengeance. The search company has been preparing to battle Facebook for years, with a slew of investments in social companies.
Its Google+ social network is off to a strong start, but it will be a long and bloody campaign. That's typical when you're talking about massive numbers of users: It has taken Google's Gmail seven years to come within striking distance of Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Hotmail. It's likely to be at least that long before Google+ really challenges Facebook.
But Google has an advantage: Google matters more than Facebook in terms of the data is controls. Google is critical to millions of businesses. Facebook matters to gaming companies and marketers; it is beloved and used obsessively. But the possibility of its sudden disappearance isn't nearly as alarming as contemplating the absence of Google.