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Finally Google Rolls Out Business Pages: An Overview

8 November 2011 BY

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It has taken Google a while, but finally it is here: Google+ Pages for Businesses. Yesterday Google officially launched the new Google+ Pages. In the next two days everybody will get access to the feature we have all been waiting for.

We are already seeing a lot of people creating business pages at the moment and a lot of blogs blogging about it, so it doesn’t make sense for us to discuss the same. Instead we will try and give you a quick overview of what has been written and we will highlight a few things. Off course you can also take a look at our very own Google+ Page which we set up as soon as it became available to us.

The what

Let’s start off with the “what”. How can we use this, how does it work? As said, there are many posts already out there, we’ve highlighted a few below. It could be wise to start off with the video Google released itself:

Some sites which describe very well what the new pages can do:

Searchengineland – Google+ Pages Now Open For Businesses, Brands, Places & More
Cnet – How to set up Google+ for your business or brand

Analysis

So what does Google+ Pages mean for us? Is this what Google+ needs? Is this going to be the Facebook killer?

If you look at what the pages now do, it won’t be. It is setup pretty simple, with no extra features compared to a Facebook Page for example. You can add your content, set up your profile and that’s about it. You can expect Google to be rolling out more features in the near future, but if this is it, it kind of feels like expectations are not met.

At this point of time it is just another social network to keep up with for businesses and another way for marketers to push their content.

The changes for Google however lie in the brands. Brands now want to claim their brand name quickly, making sure that it gives yet another boost to the visits on Google+. Many brands which were first to set up their Google Plus pages saw very rapid rise in followers in the first 12 hours.

Brands: No verification, but Direct Connect might work

There is one peculiar thing about brands and Pages though. There is no verification for somebody to actually set up a page. You just type in the name you want and off you go. There is no check, no verification whether or not you actually belong to that brand, you can just sign up.

Google did clear things in their policies, where they state:

“Google reserves the right to block or remove Google+ Pages that violate law, third party rights, the Google+ Pages Terms or if you are using Google+ Pages to violate or circumvent terms or policies for other Google products or services.”

But that is something which only seems to be a reaction. You can claim it and then Google can act on it. That can mean a lot of work for Google if spammers get in there. On top of that, it will not be a problem for bigger brands like Apple for example, but it could be an issue for the smaller ones who do not have all the resources to claim this.

Direct Connect

What is interesting for brands however is the function “Direct Connect”. This feature lets brands get into the Google results straight away. A search for “+State of Search” would take you straight to our Google+ page. See how Google explains this here:

Sites analyzing what Google+ Pages could mean and does

The Next Web – Did Google+ just bury Twitter with its Pages launch?
ReadWriteWeb – Day 1 of Google+ Pages: The Muppets Fall Flat, But Brands Are Trying to Engage
Business Insider – Here’s Why Businesses Will Want To Be On Google+
AllFacebook – Facebook Brand Pages, Meet Pages For Google Plus
TechCrunch – How Google+ Could One-Up Facebook’s Brand Pages

Other sources writing about Google+ Pages:

Mashable – Google+ Launches Branded Pages
9to5google – Google launches 17 Google+ pages: +YouTube, +Gmail, +Google Maps and more
Forbes – Google Launches Google+ Pages, Links Search and Social Networking

More on Techmeme

Conclusion

So, can we say Google made a huge impact yesterday by launching the business pages? If you would simply look at the number of businesses creating profiles in the first 24 hours you would probably say yes, but if you look a bit further the answer has to be “no”.

It is there, but really, why did Google have to work so hard on this? These are the same as ‘regular’ plus pages. There is hardly any technological innovation here.

There has to be more on the horizon, if this really is what Google thinks business pages should be, they are in deep trouble. Vic Gundrota’s words however indicate otherwise:

“Today’s initial launch of Google+ Pages brings us a little bit closer, but we’ve still got lots of improvements planned, and miles to go before we sleep. So stay tuned.

Go check out our Google+ Page and stay tuned for the opinions of those in the industry!

AUTHORED BY:
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Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of Stateofdigital.com. -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.
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