Launching in June 2011, Google Plus (often displayed as Google+) was initially introduced as an ‘invite only’ social sharing network in the development and field testing stages, before opening it up to the masses in September. This week, all of this has changed, as Google have announced that the Google+ service is going global and users are now able to build profiles for their businesses and brands.
Essentially Google Plus is one of the newest additions to social media market, rivalling existing networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The new service integrates what it calls ‘Circles’ and ‘Hangouts’ which basically allow for people to firstly, follow your profile page and secondly, interact with you via video streaming. These changes mean that not only will you be able to connect with friends but the service will also allow for relationships to be built between a company and its customers and vice-versa. The new profiles let companies engage, interact and build up their customer or client following.
With the new profiles, small businesses and even large corporations can create and maintain a social profile via Google as another targeted avenue to attract customers. Alongside these developments Google will also be releasing a new way to search for a company’s plus profile via the Google search engine, known as Direct Connect. If you place a + symbol into the Google search box and then enter the name of the brand or company you are after, providing the company has a profile page set up, the search engine will take you directly to that page. It is not yet known when this service will be available.
As Google attracts a huge number of visitors on a monthly basis, the opportunity for brands and businesses to reach out to their potential target audience and create awareness should be highly valued. The new ‘Circles’ tab also allow companies to sort their followers into groups so that they can target relevant messages to selected audiences. As a result, brands can create posts intended for those of different ages, languages and genders which in itself is a clever marketing tool for companies to implement and also an additional reason for companies to sign up to Google plus. The comments thread also only currently allows for users to respond, rather than post on a profile wall, so there is no spam or angry comments uploaded onto the wall.
According to Google the plus pages “give life to everything we find in the real world and by adding them to circles, we can create lasting bonds with the pages (and people) that matter most”. Companies and brands such as Save the Children, Barcelona Football Club, Pepsi, The Muppets (shown above) and even us here at Koozai are already using the new profile pages.
Google have stated their claim in the social market and with the integration of other services within the plus profiles such as the +1 button and Google Circles, how far will they progress and how much of a stake will they have in the social networking market in the coming months? With lots of improvements planned, in the meantime we will just have to wait and see.
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