Nov 082011
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Not a bad start

Google+ is taking another major step needed toward becoming a full-fledged Facebook rival: it’s launching Google+ Pages, which allow brands, products, companies, businesses, places, groups, and everyone else to establish a presence on the service. The product is a lot like Facebook Pages, but there’s one major difference: Google is baking some elements of Google+ Pages deep into its bread-and-butter search product.

It’s been a rocky road getting here. As you may recall, when Google+ first launched, Google asked brands and publishers not to create pages for their own sites, promising that there would be an official solution coming shortly. Not everyone heeded Google’s request (and, in hindsight, TechCrunch shouldn’t have either), but rather than apply its own rules, Google started making exceptions. A lot of people got upset, a new TechCrunch employee was spawned (and unceremoniously banned), and Google SVP Vic Gundotra later went on to say that the ordeal “was probably a mistake“.

Anyway. Now Google+ Pages are officially launching, and it’s good news all around.

I haven’t gotten to use the new Pages feature yet, but Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product and one of heads of the Google+ project, walked me through a set of slides outlining how they’re created  and how users will engage with them.

The first thing Horowitz did was to rattle off some stats: the service launched a little over 100 days ago, now has 40 million users and 3.4 billion photos uploaded, and has launched over one hundred new features. Not a bad start. Onto the Pages.

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