Google+ introduces branded pages
Individuals are no longer the only users of Google+, with the search engine unveiling its brand pages.
In a blog post yesterday (November 7), senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra wrote that the focus of Google+ was shifting from connecting with other people to connecting to the places and things important in our lives.
"We want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about – from local businesses to global brands," wrote Gundotra.
The new Google+ brand pages look almost identical to Google+ Profiles, except for a small square icon.
Google has enlisted launch partners including popular game Angry Birds, news providers CNN and Fox News, the Muppets, sports-entertainment company WWE, Pepsi and Toyota.
According to digital media strategist Zeny Huang, Google's brand pages have more potential to reach users than pages on Facebook.
When news was first emerging of Google's developments, Huang noted in her blog post on technology news site Mashable (8 August 2011) that the search engine has four main advantages over its social media rival – better search opportunities, more customisation, better analytics and the fact that Google could learn from Facebook's formula.
"Facebook’s successes and missteps offer invaluable lessons, giving Google second-mover advantage in creating a brand page," wrote Huang.
The launch of the Google+ brand pages comes weeks before Facebook's Timeline update – which is expected to significantly change the look of its brand pages.
Also announced by Google was additional search features relating to Google+ Pages.
Search queries conducted by Google users can now be turned into "meaningful connections" – by displaying Google+ pages in the search results and by utilising Direct Connect.
Direct Connect allows a plus symbol to be placed in front of any name searched for using Google, and the Google+ page will be displayed immediately.