Google finally launches Google+ Pages for businesses and brands

Google+ pagesGoogle is finally starting to unveil the master plan behind its +1 scheme. Today the site announced Google+ pages, the long-awaited answer for brands wanting to get social through Google. It’s Google’s answer to Facebook Pages, and something users have been wanting—nearly begging for, since Google+ launched.

The update means that brands and companies will be able to garner +1s for their businesses, as well as take advantage of elements like Hangouts (something some have been using for professional purposes already). Users will also now be able to loop Pages into their Circles as well.

There are a couple of things to be aware of when you launch a Page. First of all, everything on a Page is automatically public, unlike personal profiles where it’s limited to your Circles by default. Secondly, users don’t need to worry about Google+ spam (at least for the time being), because Pages can’t just troll the social network adding people to their Circles left and right. Users will have to add a Page to their Circles before a Page can return the favor, and thus gain the ability to reach you.

Google also announced a feature called Direct Connect, which basically auto-connects you to a brand’s Google+ Page when you type +[insert brand name here] into search. It’s only available for a few businesses today (including Google and Pepsi), but the roll out will continue. Google is assuredly trying to get businesses wanting this application, banking on the idea that consumers will begin searching for things with a + attached. While the release is limited, Google says you can check out its Help Center for more information.

google+ direct connect

And if you’re anything like us, you might be wondering what the difference between hitting a Page’s +1 button in Google+ and hitting the +1 button that comes up with you search for a site is. See the image below for clarification.

the plus button

Well the answer is they both serve the exact same function—it’s a +1 overlap. So what’s the point? Google remains cagey on the +1 button, and Web masters are still wondering what effect the tool has on page rank. While we await the answers, visit our brand new +Digital Trends page, and check out the video below for a closer look at Google+ Pages. 

Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Mobile

You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

Google has been updating Maps with a ton of new features over the past few months, and now it's back with another one -- the ability for users to message businesses directly through the Maps app.
Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."