Google 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.
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.
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.