Google has unveiled some enhancements to Google+ aimed at expanding that people-to-people social networking service to people-to-businesses and people-to-organizations.
"So far Google+ has focused on connecting people with other people," Google's engineering headman Vic Gundotra wrote in a blog post on Monday. "But we want to make sure you can build relationships with all the things you care about – from local businesses to global brands – so today we're rolling out Google+ Pages worldwide."
The premise behind Google+ Pages is that businesses are composed of people – no, not in the US Supreme Court's "corporations are people" sense, but in the sense that customers and businesses should be able to carry on conversations in the Google+ world.
"This means we can now hang out live with the local bike shop," Gundotra writes, "or discuss our wardrobe with a favorite clothing line, or follow a band on tour."
Of course, from the point of view of the business, such conversations can lead to better customer loyalty, the ability to pass on information about products and sales, and a way to get immediate feedback from committed customers.
Google provides information about Google+ Pages and how an organization or business can create a page on its support site.
In addition to Google+ Pages, Gundotra also announced a new feature of Google Search called Direct Connect that will, well, directly connect you to a Google+ Pages page.
To use this feature, you type a "+" before the name of the organization or business, and you'll be taken directly to that group's page, bypassing a search-results page. On that page, you'll also be given the opportunity to add that orgnization or business to add that group to a Google+ circle.
Well, now we know why Google recently banned the "+" symbol from its Boolean search options.
Direct Connect works with only a few pages at launch: +Pepsi, +Toyota, and – as you might have guessed – +Google. If you're interested in making your business or organization "plussable", you can check out the Google+ Direct Connect page in the company's support site.
Should you be interested in experiencing Google+ Pages in its infancy, you can join a live Google Hangout with Kermit the Frog and Ms. Piggy on the Muppets Google+ page at 4:30pm Pacific time on Monday. ®