Google officially launched brand pages on Google+ today, ending months of waiting. The Web giant's pitch to convince businesses and brands to sign up (and unseat Facebook's dominance as the go-to social destination for businesses):
"Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1, or add you to a circle to listen long-term. They can actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face. All you need to do is start sharing, and you'll soon find the super fans and loyal customers that want to say hello."
Charter branded G+ pages at launch showed the array of business-hosted pages possible:
• TV shows (CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Fox News Channel's Special Report, ABC's Good Morning America)
• Sports teams ( Barcelona Football Club, Dallas Cowboys, the Phoenix Suns)
• Fashion/retail brands (H&M, Burberry, Macy's)
• Entertainment performers (bands Train and All American Rejects, and model/TV presenter Tyra Banks' page promoting her Modelland novel)
• Entertainment properties (Rovio's Angry Birds, Disney's the Muppets — which hosted a Google+ hangout on YouTube today to promote the grand opening, following Disney's deal to develop original channels for YouTube)
• A non-profit organization (Save the Children)
• Big Brands Pepsi, Toyota
• Live enertainment brands: (WWE, X Games)
• And a small retailer: Zen Bikes, the small bike shop in New York shown in the Google+ promo at top.
Google also announced a new feature, Direct Connect, that lets users add G+ pages directly from the newly improved Google search:
"People search on Google billions of times a day, and very often, they're looking for businesses and brands. Today's launch of Google+ Pages can help people transform their queries into meaningful connections, so we're rolling out two ways to add pages to circles from Google search. The first is by including Google+ pages in search results, and the second is a new feature called Direct Connect. Maybe you're watching a movie trailer, or you just heard that your favorite band is coming to town. In both cases you want to connect with them right now, and Direct Connect makes it easy—even automatic. Just go to Google and search for [+], followed by the page you're interested in (like +Angry Birds). We'll take you to their Google+ page, and if you want, we’ll add them to your circles. Direct Connect works for a limited number of pages today (like +Google, +Pepsi, and +Toyota), but many more are coming."
Google also made it easier to add YouTube videos into Google+ pages. Below, find out more about Direct Connect: