Google+ have finally launched Google+ Pages. Like Facebook Pages, these are ‘profiles’ that are intended for businesses, brands and other similar indentities, rather than individual people.
Perhaps to avoid the mad scramble for vanity URLs (i.e. website addresses that contain the brand name such as facebook.com/nzraw), Google appear to be identifying pages in the same way that they identify personal profiles – through a long string of unique numbers rather than any text content (e.g. plus.google.com/117301083128227203723).
This means that a user won’t be able to guess the website address of a Google+ Page which obviously places more emphasis on search and on linking to the Google+ Page from your own website and other social media content. Obviously both of those benefit Google in a big way.
Video Introduction to Google+ Pages
Google’s video introduction to the Google+ Pages service is not surprisingly highly people and ‘community’ focused, narrated by a business owner. Check it out:
Alongside the video, Google say:
In life we connect with all kinds of people, places and things. There’s friends and family, of course, but there’s also the sports teams we root for, the coffee shops we’re loyal to, and the TV shows we can’t stop watching (to name a few).
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.
It’s great to see that the All Blacks marketing guys are already onto it and have created a page for their supporters. It’ll also be interesting to see if there’s any confusion around what exactly is the equivalent of a Facebook ‘fan’. As you can see in the screenshot below, the All Blacks page has 230 followers so far, but only 63 +1’s. The two are quite different – you can +1 a page simply to show your support and recommend it to your own community, but to actually subscribe to updates from a page you will need to add it to a circle.
This is quite different to Facebook Pages where ‘liking’ a page connects you to that business as one of their Facebook followers.
Google+ Pages are added to the same circles as personal profiles which may cause some confusion in the future. Personally I’ve simply created a circle called ‘Fav Pages’ which I’ll only put pages into for the moment.
Enhancing Search with Google+ Page Results
Google look set to enhance Google search further by incorporating Google+ Pages into their search results, possibly in a similar way to that they incorporate Google+ profiles through their authorship tag. For Pages they’ll be using a service called ‘Google+ Direct Connect‘. This video shows it in use.
For websites that qualify, Direct Connect makes it easy for users to find your Google+ page from Google Search.
Through linking back to your Google+ Page from your website and using a ‘publisher’ tag, you increase the chance of your Google+ Page appearing in search suggestions in the future, as in the video, although this is likely to be the case only for the more popular Google+ Pages.
Searchers will also be able to ‘shortcut’ to a Google+ Page by adding a plus sign to the beginning of their search term, like ‘+foursquare’ to search for the foursquare Google+ Page from Google.com. This looks to be a direct response to the fact that many people just search for ‘facebook’ rather than enter the website address ‘www.facebook.com’ (we’re pretty lazy huh?). Google say on their blog post that this currently works for the likes of +Google, +Pepsi and +Toyota, but my own testing on Google.com proves otherwise. Could just be a US thing for the moment.
Google+ also encourage you to link back to your Page through providing options for a Google+ badge or Google+ icon. Interestingly in doing this, they appear to be re-branding! While the +1 button is the same, their old black image doesn’t look like it’s in use any more. It’s been replaced by a simple red icon with a white ‘g’ and plus symbol. This also appears as the favicon for the website.
It’ll be great to see what Google+ do with this service and how well it takes off in direct competition with the highly successful Facebook Pages.
Oh and if you’re anything like me, the first thing you’ll try to do when visiting a Google+ Page from one of your favourite brands is to comment on their wall! Fail! That’s not Google+’s way. Head back to your own profile and post an update just to that Page and it will have the same affect … but then your own followers won’t see it as well … unless you post pit publically too. Circles huh? Gotta love ’em.
You can read more about Google+ Pages or look at creating your own by clicking the button below.