2012 to be a 'breakout year' for Google Plus

While it still lags far behind Facebook, Google Plus continues to make headway in the social networking field, topping 49 million U.S. visits in December, according to Experian Hitwise.

This figure marks a 55 percent increase over November. Paul Allen, unofficial statistician for Google Plus, estimates on the Google Plus blog that the social networking site now has around 62 million users, and predicts it will hit 85 million by February 1 and 400 million by the end of 2012 - a number that would rival Facebook's current 800 million.

Furthermore, approximately one-fourth (24.1 percent) of Google Plus' users joined in December alone, and it is growing at around 625,000 new users per day.

According to CNET, Google Plus isn't just attempting to compete with Facebook for user supremacy. It's also been aggressive at integrating and cross-promoting other products such as Gmail, YouTube, Android, Picasa Web Albums and Google Reader.

It's also been actively advertising, airing lengthy television commercials around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

"Based on the accelerated growth I'm seeing and all the dials and levers Google can still utilize, and the developer ecosystem that will be developed, I predict that 2012 is going to be a breakout year for Google Plus," Allen added.