Google has said it will add features to Google+ for firms to monitor and control brand presence on the social network.
The changes, which will be rolled out this week, will increase the number of users that can be given administrator rights to a Google+ brand page. Google will tweak notification settings, and will make changes to allow brands to see who has subscribed or shared their page via the +1 button. In addition, general users will be given more control over what they see in their news stream, Google said on Monday.
"Today we're pleased to announce a goodie basket full of Google+ features and functionality for you to unpack and enjoy over the holidays," Bradley Horowitz, Google's vice president for Google+ product, wrote in a blog post. "Some of these were on nearly everyone's wishlist... and some we hope will be welcome surprises. These features will be rolling out over the next couple of days, and we hope you'll find them useful this holiday season and beyond."
Google has sought to differentiate companies from general users by giving them additional features and forcing them to apply to Google to get a dedicated brand page. In the early days of the service Google took down pages created by brands masquerading as general users.
Google launched brand pages on the network in November. Google+ debuted in June.
It will be possible to assign up to 50 administrators to a business page, up from one initially. All brand pages will get a number in the top left corner that shows how many people have added the page to their circles — Google's method of dividing friends on the network according to user-set groups — or have shared the page via a +1 button.
We want to continue making Google+ a great place for your businesses, so please keep sending us your feedback and we'll keep making improvements. – Google engineer
Businesses now have access to the same types of notifications that general users have had since the service's inception, Google said.
"This is just the beginning, we want to continue making Google+ a great place for your businesses, so please keep sending us your feedback and we'll keep making improvements," a Google engineer said in a video announcing the changes.
General users of the network will be able to use a 'volume slider' to tweak the quantity of posts from individual circles that show up in their stream — the general news feed that shows all activity on the network.
Photos will be revamped as well, with the main viewing technology — Lightbox — gaining a facelift that smoothes navigation, commenting and photo viewing. The way people tag their friends will be changed as well, so that people can tag people with circles and, once they have been tagged, allow the photo to be selectively darkened to highlight the face of the tagged person.
By contrast, Facebook allows multiple administrators to be created for a business page, lets people tweak what stories appear in their news feed, and gives page operators access to analytics.