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Only available to businesses lucky enough to have received an invitation
Google is moving closer to mirroring Facebook as it launches Google+ Pages, a new service that allows brands and businesses to be found.
For businesses and brands, Google becomes another platform to market themselves on. For consumers, they'll be able to search not only for people and friends, but loyalty programs, brands and businesses.
These results will be compiled as they are identified by Google's algorithm as your favorites, according to Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering, in a Google blog post.
How will it work? Let's say that you love your local coffee shop, but they don't have the best reading material there. With Google+ Pages, you are now able to communicate with the shop owner, if the shop created a Page, you will be able to not only recommend this coffee shop to friends, but to actually interact with the people behind the counter. Simply add the coffee shop to your "Circle," which is a group of people with different viewing and sharing settings, and voila, you have created a life-long bond with your favorite caffeine provider.
How do brands get on?
Google+ has more than 40 million users, a respectable number for a new network but a far cry from Facebook’s 800 million active users. Incorporating brands and businesses pages will most likely result in a surge of users on the new platform, with businesses seizing on the opportunity. That is, of course, for businesses who have received an invitation.
What may be a source of frustration for many small business owners wanting in is that Google+ for brand is taking the same approach that it had taken when launching its social network. Only a few select businesses are invited to join. So far, they are almost all big brands such as Macy's, Toyota, H&M, and, Angry Birds the ridiculously popular puzzle video game, made the list.
For those businesses lucky enough to have received an invitation to create a business page with what Google calls Direct Connect, this is a great opportunity to establish real brand loyalty. Google+ gives brands and businesses a true linkage to connect on a one-on-one level with its customers, but also with all their clients' friends. Clients can share the love with a +1 in their circle, which is similar to Facebook's Like button.
Another hurdle is that only websites and businesses that have incorporated into its design a Google+ badge, or have added a snippet of code to their website, will show up in these new search results.
So let's recap: to get onboard the Google+ train, a business will need a badge, then to add coding to its website, and finally a golden ticket, or invitation are all required before hopping on.
Personalities can also create their own Google+ brand page to interact with its fan base. It has been reported to me by a source close to Google+, that it is actively reaching to celebrities to publicly endorse Google+.
So who knows, maybe in the near future Lady Gaga will include you in her Circle of friends. In the meantime, Kermit and Ms. Piggy are having a live Hangout on the Muppets’ Google+ page today at 4:30pm PT.
Google was not available for comment.
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