Google lets businesses join the Google+ party with Pages
UPDATED: The banks are in on it, with ASB, BNZ and Kiwibank manning (or um, banking?) their own Google+ pages.
ASB said in a release it was the first bank to create a social presence on the network and had used Hangouts earlier in the year to connect with customers taking part in the beta testing program for the bank's Android app, released last month.
At one point in the Google+ story, businesses were asked to hold their horses as Google worked to develop a business-oriented Google+ offering.
And lo, that day has arrived, with Google Pages now on offer.
Google+ is the social network launched by Google in September, set to challenge Facebook’s dominance.
The Guardian reported Google+ had attracted over 40 million users since its launch and Pages was its first large scale attempt at appealing to marketers and advertisers.
The development lets businesses Hangout (Google’s video chat feature) with customers, where employees can spend face to face time with consumers on the social service, in a serpent-eating-its-own-tail return to retail practices.
In return, customers can recommend businesses with a +1.
On Google’s blog, senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said the service would be rolled out globally with businesses soon able to join. Organisations already onboard include Pepsi, Angry Birds and, that’s right, The Muppets (speaking of which there was a live Muppet Hang Out today).
The roll out for businesses on Google+ extends to search, with the Direct Connect function, where users can search + and then a business names (for instance +The Muppets), taking the user directly to the business or brand’s Google+ page, Mr Gundotra said.
Users can add brands and businesses to their Circles, or specific groups of friends, either by using Direct Connect or through the inclusion of Google+ pages in search results, the blog said.