Can a social network succeed without the darlings of Hollywood posting about their breakfasts? Reports are circulating that Google+ is preparing a "celebrity acquisition plan" that would bring major media figures into the fledgling social network.
Much like how Twitter provides the prized "Verified Account" badges for high-profile accounts, Google+ is planning a system that would confirm the identities of celebrity profiles and eliminate the chance that fans are following a ringer. In other words, Google+ wants to entice celebrities to join up by ensuring them that their personal brand will be protected and promoted.
How will the verification work? Well, CNN, which broke the story by reviewing internal Google e-mails, says it may come down to something as silly as having celebs fax over copies of driver's licenses or passports. But more likely, a pre-vetted list of Hollywood talent agents would be given leave to confirm client identities.
A Google spokeswoman declined CNN's e-mailed request for comment, saying only:
"We aren't yet sharing any details on future plans around Google+. We plan to add a lot of features and functionality to Google+ over time."
From where I'm standing, I doubt CNN is too far off the mark. I know plenty of people who joined Twitter in the first place because of some artist or writer or musician, and verified celebrity accounts like Kanye West's have followers in the multiple millions.
Moreover, the upcoming Google+ business profiles test run will provide companies with a similar guaranteed-real stamp of approval, so extending that verification to high-visibility individuals seems natural.
It's no wonder that Google+ wants some of that word-of-mouth power - 10 million users is really good for a 3-week-old social network, but it's clear that the search giant is looking to keep that momentum going.