Four months after telling brands to keep out of its new social network, Google has flung open the doors to its answer to Facebook with a product designed for them. Toyota and Pepsi are among the early adopters.
The product is called Pages, the same name Facebook gives to its own real estate for brands. And like Facebook's Pages, Google+ Pages will provide a means for businesses, musical acts, nonprofits, and other entities to engage consumers directly on the platform.
"For businesses and brands, Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you," Google said in a blog post.
And Google is proactively integrating Google+ Pages with search results, just as it has for individual profiles. A feature called Direct Connect will enable users to search for a brand name preceded with a [+] to be taken directly to that brand's page on the social network.
Google+ pages have many of the same attributes as individual profiles. Page owners can post updates, group fan connections into "circles," according to type, and tailor messaging to those constituent groups.
To help brands drive traffic to their pages, Google has introduced a Google+ icon. It comes in the form of a snippet of code that, when added to a page, points the company's Google+ presence.
As yet, Google has not announced plans for ads designed to drive traffic to corporate Google+ pages, a key driver of revenue growth for Facebook.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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