The search giant announced the launch of Google+ Pages today that will let businesses connect with fans in a manner similar to Facebook Pages. These businesses will receive corporate accounts to start sharing information about themselves and invite others to join in on the conversation. More after the jump.
To date Google has focused on its consumer facing Google+ roll out. In fact, Google shut down non-individual user accounts in its early days and only recently began testing corporate accounts which received a great response from businesses. The premise behind Google+ is that since it is a place for sharing and discovering content, businesses that can become part of the conversation and offer deals and freebies to users can greatly benefit from the new social marketing style of reaching consumers.
A number of companies including Pepsi, Toyota, WWE, Fox News and other media brands like Angry Birds have already setup pages with support for any business to setup coming in the near future. Google will also be integrating Google+ Pages in search queries and letting users discover content that their friends have [+1]’d.
Lastly, Google is rolling out ‘Direct Connect’, a feature that allows users to easily connect with a particular brand. For example, users interested in searching for housing equipment can search “+Kohl” and be taken directly to that page.
Problem remains, however, in maintaining active users on Google+ – an effort Google is struggling with as site traffic on Google+ has dropped by as much as 60%. Most users that have signed up aren’t repeatedly using it because its essentially replicating what both Facebook and Twitter have been doing to a degree. Despite these shortcomings, Google+ launched over 100 days ago and is currently boasting 40M users and 3.4B photos uploaded.
Users will be able to add a page to a circle and then start receiving content from them. This is done via an ‘Add to Circles’ button, not the +1 button that is analogous to a Facebook Like. This will have some bearing on what kind of search results users yield for various queries. In the long term, Google can have brands advertising for specific search terms such as a film company displaying a trailer if someone searches ‘+MovieTitle’.
Expect these features to evolve and for consumers to deal with the hassles of both Facebook Pages as well as Google Pages as the web giants vie for consumer mindshare.