Google has rolled out Google+ Pages to allow organizations to create their own pages, rather than individual personal accounts, to connect with users in the same manner as rival Facebook's own Pages. The announcement is "good news" for social media marketers of companies, according to one analyst.
"So far, Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people. But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about--from local businesses to global brands. So, today, we're rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide," Vic Gundotra, the Internet giant's senior vice president of engineering, said in a blog post Monday.
Previously, corporate accounts were not available on Google+ and businesses had to set up individual, personal accounts to build their online presence and interact with users on the social network.
Now with Google+ Pages, any person and organization can create business profiles. This feature is similar to that of rival Facebook's Pages which was launched in 2009.
According to Google, a number of organizations already have their own pages on its social network including fashion retailers H&M and Macy's, automaker Toyota, entertainment company WWE, and beverage giant Pepsi.
Google+ business pages can be accessed within the social network as well as from its search engine, where users type the "+" sign followed by the name of the company they are searching, the blog post stated.
According to Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan, the launch of Google+ Pages is "good news for social media marketers for companies large and small".
He told ZDNet Asia i n an e-mail that social media users benefit as well, since Google decided the opt-in feature would go in only one direction--meaning, consumers would be able to "+1" a business page and add it to their Circles, but companies and brands would not be able to do the same for consumers without their permission.
That said, Wengroff noted that the rollout of Google+ pages had been "slow and calculated", as with the rollout of Google+ itself. "There is still no clear way to [give] permission [to] others as the page administrator. There is still no way to create a [namesake] vanity URL, as [is possible] with Facebook, LinkedIn or SlideShare," the analyst said.
It is also still unclear how a company's paid search advertising campaign will integrate with Google+ Page, he noted, but added: "I trust Google is working on this so as to deliver the most value to its advertisers."
Google+ and Facebook in recent months dished out various changes and updates to their respective social networking sites. Since Google+'s official launch in June, the Internet giant had made efforts to boost its memberships by attracting celebrities, offering games and music on its site--although doubts were cast about its chances at finding social success, including from its own staff.
As for Facebook, in September, it unveiled sweeping changes to its social networking site including a new presentation of user profiles called Timeline, and a revised featured called Lists that enables users to group their Facebook contacts into various categories--similar to Google+'s Circles feature.
Singapore-baed Facebook user, Lloyd Wong, said of Google+ Pages: "Google is following Facebook's steps which is necessary if it wants to compete, although the move does seem a copycat one".
The sales executive, who created his Google+ account "only because I already had Gmail", added in his e-mail that users would also now be more inclined to visit and join Google+ if their favorite brands are on it.