Google+ finally opens its doors to brands

Organisations officially allowed to build a Google+ page and Hangout with customers...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

Organisations officially allowed to build a Google+ page and Hangout with customers...

Google+ brand page

Google has launched Google+ brand pages - pictured above is its own Google+ brand pageImage: Natashas Lomas/silicon.com

Google+ is opening its doors to brands after several months of operation - allowing brands and businesses to create official Google+ pages without fear of infringing Google's T&Cs.

Google+, Google's social project, launched in private beta at the end of June with a range of web services and tools focused on content sharing, before opening up to the public in September. But initially only individuals were allowed to sign up - companies that tried to jump aboard the G+ wagon and create brand pages risked their account being deleted.

Now Google has announced it is rolling out official Google+ pages for businesses worldwide - with a limited selection of brand pages live already, such as this Pepsi Google+ page. Writing on the official Google blog, the company said any organisation will "soon" be able to create their own Google+ page.

"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," blogged Vic Gundotra, senior VP of engineering at Google.

The launch of Google+ Pages for brands follows an announcement by Google last month that organisations using Google Apps were now able to turn on access to Google+. Google is keen for Google Apps users to migrate any Google+ presence they created using a personal Google Account to their Google Apps account - and is building a migration tool to help this process.

Brands using Google+ to engage with customers will be able to conduct Hangouts with customers - a feature of Google+ that enables multiple users to participate in a video chat. Brands can also be added to customers' Circles on Google+, according to Google, and have their content +1ed - Google's version of the Facebook 'Like' button.

Google revealed it is also indexing Google+ pages in its search results, to ensure people seeking businesses and brands can locate their Google+ presence. People using Google to search will be able to find brands' Google+ Pages by searching for '+' followed by the specific brand name. Google said this feature only works for a limited number of brands at present, such as '+Google'.

Despite wasting no time launching a Google+ brand page for the company he works for, one technology blogger's early response has not been favourable. Blogger and Rackspace employee Robert Scoble - a big fan of Google+ for personal use - has complained the brand pages are far too limiting to serve a large organisation's needs.

Writing in a blog post, Scoble attacked the limit of one person for owning/posting to a Google+ brand account and a range of other account limitations that make managing both a personal Google+ account and a corporate account difficult.

"If there are rules against posting inside a company to a company account without getting several people's approval (as there is within Rackspace) it makes it unbearable to post content that has any 'life' in it," blogged Scoble. "Why? Because there's no process for signoffs, so now we're stuck coming up with some new publishing system that isn't built into the tool itself."

Editorial standards