Google + Isn’t for Brands—Yet

Company will unveil marketer-friendly version later this year

Brands and businesses eager to hop on the Google + bandwagon are going to have to exercise a little bit of patience.

In a post last night, Google product manager Christian Oestlien asked businesses to contain their excitement about the company’s new social product and refrain from using consumer profiles to create pages for businesses.

“We have been watching Google+ take shape over the last week and we’ve seen some really great companies get involved. But frankly we know our product as it stands is not optimally suited to their needs,” he wrote. “In fact, it was kind of an awkward moment for us when we asked Ford for his (or was it her?) gender!”

Oestlien said Google has been focusing on refining the consumer experience, but will roll out a business-optimized experience later this year. That version, he said, will include rich analytics and the ability to connect with other Google products that businesses use regularly, such as AdWords. 

In the meantime, however, Oestlien said brands and businesses itching to follow their customers to the new social platform can sign up to be partners in a limited program to test the experience for non-individuals (e.g. businesses, organizations, teams, and places). The selected partners will help Google figure out how users interact with those entities in the platform’s Circles, Stream, and Hangouts, he said. A Google spokesman said thousands of business "of all sizes and stripes" have already signed up for the test program.

But, as Mashable reports, some brands, including Ford, Breaking News, and Mashable itself have already created their own Google + profiles. Mashable’s page no longer appears to be active, but Ford’s profile is promoting time with its head of marketing in a Google+ Hangout Thursday.

Ford did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Adweek. But responding to comments on his post, Oestlien said some of the existing business profiles might be included in the testing.

“We'll be reviewing everything on a case by case basis once we have a sense for user interest,” he wrote.

A Google spokesman said the company will finalize its test partners in the next several weeks and that the businesses that have already created profiles can sign up to participate.

“Businesses that've been early adopters are also welcome to join the test we announced, and if they're participants those profiles will remain for the duration of the test,” he said, adding that when the business option is available, they'll have to migrate over to the new version.