I really think that people are missing a large part of why Google+ is awesome. It has to do with the fact that Facebook is awesome too. I’m really happy that they look similar, and its for good reason Facebook is a really successful, amazing platform with a good design and great developer tools.
Imagine if the social networks came out in a different order. Imagine if you could replace your Facebook friends with your Twitter friends but keep the platform. The problem (and the potential for success in Google+) is the order that the networks were released and the types of networks that they promoted.
In the early stages of a network, its important to form a lot of connections not because you want the network to be tightly coupled, but because you want the network to seem alive and grow as fast as possible. Connections are a great way to grow a network quickly and keep it active. There’s a reason that Google+ doesn’t let you filter your stream by a set of circles from the onset (although I think that feature will prove the usefulness of the bucketed approach), and I believe that reason is directly related to mass of content.
I’m really looking forward to what comes next, especially surrounding the tightening of Google’s brand around services like Picasa and Maps.