Google: Business, Wait on Google+

Google is going social – or trying to. Their recent launch of Google+ is designed to give Facebook some healthy competition. According to their announcement: “Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools.
In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.” But not for businesses. Google has asked that business stay away from Google+ until it has created a version that will meet the needs of businesses.

Christian Oestlien, product manager on Google+, reported in a YouTube announcement: “Right now we’re very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience. But we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+.” Google hopes to roll this out, says Oestlien, sometime this year. “The business experience we are creating should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses. We just ask for your patience while we build it.”

While some businesses, like Ford Motor Co., seem to have snuck past Google, the search giant is asking companies to fill out their “Google+Entity Profile Application” if they want to be considered for the limited number of spots for businesses in Google+ testing. The purpose of this, says Google is to “see the effect of including brands in the Google+ experience.”

Google+ offers users five core elements: Circles, Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks, and Huddle, each designed to facilitate social networking. Businesses will have to figure out how to handle this new “project” and how to leverage it properly. As Information Week’s Thomas Claburn points out, “Are businesses ‘friends’ or something else?” How are they going to fit into this social landscape? Most will have to wait a few months to find out.

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