File Under: Social, Web Services

Businesses, Brands Invade Google Plus

Google has released a new Google Plus feature dubbed “Pages,” which allows brands, businesses and even Webmonkeys to join the company’s social network.

To get started creating a Google Plus Page for your company or brand, head on over to the new Google Plus business page.

Unfortunately, while Google Plus Pages look just like regular Google Plus profiles, there are some notable limitations that leave this early incarnation of Google Plus Pages wanting.

Among the list of things Google Plus Pages can’t do are basic Plus features like giving webpages a +1 or receiving notifications when others interact with your page.

More limiting for larger brands, in their current form Google Plus Pages are tied directly to one (and only one) “normal” Google+ profile. That is, whomever sets up a company’s Page is the only person that can ever post to the Page. In order to actually be useful for most brands Google Plus Pages need options for administrators and a way for multiple contributors to post.

Google seems aware of these shortcomings and, as is typical of the company’s launch-early-update-often approach, is promising users that “many more features [are] planned for the coming weeks and months.”

For now most businesses appear to be on a land grab — staking a claim on Google Plus before anyone else can.

Curiously, considering how aggressive Google has been about forcing real names on Google Plus, there seems to be zero verification for Pages. I set up a Webmonkey Page without once being asked to verify in any way that I was actually associated with Webmonkey. In fact, had I not already done it, anyone could have set up a page for Webmonkey and claim to speak in its behalf, which does not bode well for businesses that are slow to create Google Plus pages.

Google does offer a badge that can be used to link your page back to your actual website. In its current form it isn’t used for verification (though it certainly could be), but it does unify your +1 count in Google’s search results. That way any +1 from your Google Plus page, your website, and from Google search results are all tallied together and appear as a single total in search results.

Also part of today’s announcement is a new way to search using the “+” sign. Once an advanced search operator, adding a plus sign to your search will now take you to the relevant Google Plus page. At the moment it only works for select partners, but look for the “+” features to be extended in the future.

Google Plus is still in beta and the new Pages effort feels more like an alpha release, but if you’ve got a business or brand (or even just a website) that you want to have a Google Plus presence we strongly suggest staking your claim before someone else does.

That’s exactly what we did. Never one to miss a great internet land grab, Webmonkey now has a Google Plus page you can +1 (or follow or like, depending on your social network orientation).

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