Where are the Google+ company “Pages” for brands, something similar to Facebook’s “Fan Pages?” They’re coming apparently.
Google’s head of Commerce and Local Jeff Huber confirmed what some people were hoping for: the imminent arrival of Google+ pages for entities. This was in a comment on Mike Blumenthal’s blog:
And pre-emptively answering a question — yes, we will have (smb) business profile pages on Google+. I can’t announce a launch date yet, but we want to make them *great*, and we’re coding as fast as we can.
Right now it’s pretty tough to make Google+ work for companies. Danny had some choice words for big G about the challenges of setting up company pages currently. The prompted this response from one of the chief architects of Google+, Bradley Horowitz:
Let me be clear – and I’m sorry if this wasn’t obvious – we are not currently supporting brands, organizations, and non-human entities in the Google+ field trial. While we should have been clearer about this, there are some fields in the registration form (asking for a first name, a last name, an age and a gender) that indicate that.
Supporting these non-human entities is an obviously great feature – we have no allergy to it at all! It’s just not part of the system we are currently testing.
The field trial has limitations that I know are frustrating – ranging from lack of “obvious” features to inability to invite the people you most want to share with… We weren’t kidding when we said this was early and a test… and if the product leads to more frustration than you can bear, then that’s understandable and I promise that you will see fast and meaningful progress… and you can jump back in when we meet your bar for minimum viable functionality.
And Google group product manager Christian Oestlien added:
We definitely appreciate your enthusiasm and desire to get a presence going for Search Engine Land in the Google+ Project. We are obviously only a few days into this, but initially we wanted to make sure that we optimized for the individual use case. Building great consumer products is a necessary prerequisite for compelling business products.
In the future we may want to enable Google+ to support businesses and brands, but we want to make sure we do that in the right way. The things that matter for an individual user aren’t the same things that matter for businesses and we want to make sure both have a great experience in Google+.
For now we are actively discouraging businesses to adopt consumer profiles, but we have heard the feedback and will obviously do what we can down the line to build optimal experiences for all of the entities (human or otherwise) that make up our social and interest graphs. Like we’ve said from the start (3 days ago) this is just the beginning of a very long journey towards making Google, our properties and products more social.
Here is the official language we’ve used around all this stuff. Feel free to ping me separately if you want/need more explanation. http://www.google.com/support/+/bin/answer.py?answer=1228271
That link says that Google+ accounts used just for businesses aren’t allowed. Oops. Search Engine Land already made one:
We’re not the only ones. Mashable, perhaps, was the first with this page here.
Once these pages/profiles arrive officially, they will probably operate in a way that’s pretty similar to Facebook Pages, but with some Google SEO benefits. They will be indexed, “followable” and individual updates or posts can be +1′d — much or all of which will be fed back into search results and rankings (but I’m getting ahead of myself).
The incentives for companies to do this are almost self-evident, especially as Google+ continues to gain users. However, the specific challenges of getting small businesses involved in Google+ are great, as well as managing the relationship between Places and Google+ Pages.
Postscript: See our follow-up story, Google: Hold Off On Creating Business Profiles On Google+, “Non-User Profiles” Will Be Shut Down.