Zuckerberg back atop Google+ (openly)

Google says that Mark Zuckerberg didn't, after all, shut himself away from the prying eyes of Google+ members. It was, allegedly, a mere glitch. Zuckerberg's back. And he now has almost twice the followers of Larry Page.

The future of Google+ as the only, open, pure, revolutionary social network was placed in jeopardy when it appeared, just a couple of days ago, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had shut himself away on the site.

He wasn't the only famous technological face that had disappeared. So had Larry Page and several other Google luminaries.

It seems, though, that Google has had to perform a technological about-face, as its SVP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra (one of those who had allegedly shut himself away) admitted that the sudden walling off of famous faces was a mere oversight.

Why is this man smiling? Because he's owning Google+. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Gundotra told the Inquirer: "This was a glitch that affected a small number of people--those with very high followers and few people in their circles."

Hmm, so the problem was that the technology couldn't deal with people who attracted vast amounts of love and gave little in return. The rest of the world has that problem too.

Some might be unconvinced by Google's explanation. They might imagine that somewhere there was a change of mind--perhaps spurred by manipulative PR advisers. They might question why, at the time of Zuckerberg's disappearance, Facebook didn't say: "Oh, no, he didn't shut himself off. Mark wouldn't do that. Except maybe on Facebook."

The official Facebook statement when I asked was: "We're in the early days of making the Web more social, and there are opportunities for innovation everywhere."

I prefer to believe that this temporary Google+ vanishing act was, indeed, a mere glitch. I prefer to bathe in the fact that, according to Social Statistics--a site that has become one of the high churches of Google+ stats--Zuckerberg has more than 184,000 followers, putting him far ahead in the Google+ chart.

In second place is Google CEO Larry Page with almost 95,000. In third, Sergey Brin with almost 72,000. Mathematicians will conclude that the Facebook CEO has more Google+ followers than both the Google founders combined.

Still, despite all the followers, Zuckerberg doesn't seem to have shared very much at all on his rival's social network--merely one smiley picture and the claim: "I make things."

With sharing as boundless as that, I wonder whether this social-networking thing really has a future.