Google to combine Google+ Pages for brands with search

8 Nov 2011

Search giant Google’s social networking engine Google + has finally launched its Pages feature that will allow businesses to create a presence on the network. However, only a select number of brands have been permitted to create Google + Pages so far, the rest of you will have to wait, it seems.

Since last night selected organisations, including Burberry, O2, Angry Birds, Chelsea Football Club, Barcelona Football Club, Save the Children, Mumsnet and the Muppets have had pages available.

Google promises any organisation will “soon” be able to create their own page. I have put a question in as to what “soon” actually means.

Google+ has now more than 40m users worldwide.

But the search giant’s approach to opening Google+ to brands has been shaky, to say the least.

When Google+ launched in June, within weeks early mover brands that went about creating Google+ profiles in the same way as they would via Facebook or Twitter began seeing their pages disappear or lack functionality. Brands affected by the move included Ford, Mashable and Sesame Street.

Google+ was only for real people with real names, the company said at the time.

How soon is now?

“For businesses and brands, Google+ pages helps you to engage with your audiences,” Google said.

“Not only can they recommend you with a +1, they can add you to a circle to listen long-term to all of your activity and campaigns. In addition, they can spend time with your team, face-to-face by using Hangouts and video chat.

“A number of pages are already available, but any organisation will soon be able to create their own corner on Google+,” the company said.

Google said the advent of Google+ for organisations and brands will have a meaningful impact on Google searches and it is rolling out two ways to add Pages to circles from a Google search.

The first is by including Google+ pages in search results, and the second is a feature called Direct Connect.

Users can now go to Google and search for a brand by putting a + in front of their query and at the same time add the brand to their circles.

Direct Connect works for a limited number of pages today (like +Pepsi and +Toyota), but many more are coming, Google promised.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years