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Official Release of Google+ Pages (googleblog.blogspot.com)
144 points by xpressyoo 2263 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 121 comments

> you can build relationships with all the things you care about - from local businesses to global brands

Do people in marketing even hear themselves? I'm going to be charitable and assume this is ad copy aimed at other marketers because no real human has ever wished they could build a relationship with a global brand. Now if you excuse me, I need to go like the Guinness page on facebook.

Honestly, this myopic view of the ad world is why there is such a disconnect between our industry and the ad industry.

While the normal computer engineer/entrepreneur is far too 'sophisticated' to have a personal connection with a brand, there are 'real-world' people that do have connections. It's not the cheap "let me play this memory game on their FB page" connection, but a deeper connection.

There are people who feel for brands like Khan Academy and what they're doing for education, there are couples who have a soft spot for their local restaurant where the guy proposed to the girl, there are even families that fondly remember their first beat-up Honda that was reliable through thick and thin.

Sure, we may not have these deep connections given our fast paced lives, but please realize that there are others who do have human feelings for non-human entities that have made their lives better.

Very funny that you suggest computing enthusiasts are not subject to personal connections with brands. The phrase "fan boy" was essentially created within the technology domain.

I think his objection is to the wording, not the concept.

There's a similar problem in psychology. Tell someone about the bystander effect or scope neglect, and they'll agree that it's neat but not that it could possibly apply to them.

Advertising works. At some point, engineers will practice what they preach and look at the data.

it's ironic to me to read this comment on news.yc, a site populated almost entirely by people who have formed a level of emotional relationship with the YC brand.

reading about it in such blunt terms might make it seem silly, but yes, people do want to associate themselves with global brands. they become part of people's identity, and i would think an internet person would have a better understanding of this than most, as we have more interactions with fanboys than most people.

Agreed. One need only look at the Apple/Google/Microsoft flamewars that occur daily on this site in order to realize this.

I think you are confusing the emotional relationship and connection with other likeminded hackers and entrepreneurs - not YC or the YC brand itself.

Last I checked, pg hasn't started a tech company in decades. It's not the orange bar I'm here for, it's the people in the comments - most of whom are not even affiliated with YC.

you can't tell me you haven't noticed a bias towards YC-funded companies in the comments here. they don't just get more attention, they get more love.

That's probably out of deference to the host. It's bad form to walk into a party hosted by the owner of some company and show no respect to the host or the company whatsoever.

What's the YC brand? I come here for the intelligent conversation about tech subjects.

Most people would not think of it in those terms, but yes.

I dabble and play with other programing languages and operating systems, but I make my money as SQL Server DBA, I hold multiple technical certifications from Microsoft, and use several Microsoft Products at home and at work. I have a long term relationship with Microsoft and follow news from them closely.

In a more frivolous example, I noticed that Bioware tends to make most of the video games I really enjoy. So, I follow news of new released, updates, etc from them.

Anything which provides a convenient mechanism to get news from companies like them that I deal with on an ongoing relationship, can be useful to me. Something which would let me send them questions and or feedback that they would actually pay attention to, would also be valuable. So, I do not know if I will ever use this particular feature from Google, but I certainly do build relationships with global brands and an effective tool in that arena could be useful.

While funny, couldn't you do that with jargon from any industry? Like Things Real People Don't Say About User Experience: "This operating system's use of Fitts's Law means I am more productive!" Or Things Real People Don't Say About Their Health: "I must be in the readaptation stage as I realize I am only breathing due to this machine!"

It's more funny with TPDSAA because the images look like the fake testimonials you would find in actual advertisements. So there's a meta-ness to it.

Some extra scorn via Bill Hicks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

Just as a random example:


I don't interact with a global brand in that way. Neither do you. But clearly, "people" do. As I'm looking right now, 107 people 'like' Toyota's update about their cars getting good reviews. One guy publicly reshared it with:

"I got my pride in my ride.....I like my swagger wagon."

Considering I feel obligated to "like" any inanities my employer posts on their facebook page, and considering the size of the Toyota corporation (employees+astroturfers), I'm surprised it isn't an order of magnitude higher.

It's typical for a company's employees to like the FB page and status updates. Toyota has 317,00 employees.

Even if every single one of those employees 'liked' the page (unlikely), that still leaves 280,000 people unaccounted for.

Doesn't Facebook create "Likes" when people put "Toyota" in their interests section on their profile?

Not as far as I am aware, no. In any case, that would be an even greater indication of people expressing their loyalty towards a huge brand.

As far as facebook likes and profiles, OP is correct. But you're spot on with that being a strong signal of brand loyalty.

Furthermore, it's typical for large companies to have people specifically to "engage in social" - which mostly means simulating actual humans interacting on social sites with the brand in order to lower the guard that most people would have against doing the same.

Well, Google's bread-and-butter product is ads, so it'd make sense that their copy is targeted towards marketers: they're the one who build ad campaigns.

I agree that people don't think to themselves, "how can I show Google that I love them," but I think behavior on the Internet thus far would show that they do want to feel a connection to companies. Millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers can't be wrong. Even if they only get you to fan/like/follow/add-to-circle for a deal, it creates that relationship, and it's a real person pushing the button.

What?! I totally want to know what's up with Charmin, my favorite brand of toilet tissue.

So this is what the + is for now. Go ahead, enter [+pepsi] in the Google Chrome omnibox.

This looks like the first time Google's fundamental search syntax has been changed to support a new product. Right? Wow.

So I guess now we know how meaningful the "plus" is. It at first seemed like a generic advertising term, like "Google Deluxe". Then when we started using G+, it seemed like it was just their riff on the @ syntax. Now we know it goes all the way to the input box on www.google.com, the very center of the Google user experience.

Now, queries starting with a plus basically shunt you to Google+ instead of web search. To the average Google user, it's like their country's phone company created new phone numbers that start with #. Can they do that? They just did.

The upshot is that Google has officially carved out part of the web search query universe just for a namespace of its own. Remember this day.

Entering "+pepsi" into my copy of Chrome, or into the Google Search page itself, just does a standard Google search for Pepsi. I'm in the UK. Is this US-only functionality?

I should clarify that it's not in quotes, my fault for not using bracket syntax (now edited).

But for me here in California, [+pepsi] entered in either box takes me to Pepsi's Google+ page — and crucially, not to pepsi.com.

i didn't use quotes and still get a regular search

Worked for me with Chrome 15.0.874.106

That's bizarre. What happens if you type something that should have a plus? E.g. a phone number with the country code (+353 01 etc)

Letting Google's Instant feature get results on "+pepsi", I get the normal "pepsi" results.

However, if I hit the search button, I go to Pepsi's G+ page.

Also in Firefox (7), "+pepsi" in the search bar goes right to their G+ page.

i don't get any new functionality from the omnibox either, and even searching on google.com/ncr for +pepsi doesn't return a google+ page, just pepsi's website.

I had to type it in, not copy-and-paste, and got it.

AOL keywords all over again?

I think Google is attempting to be brilliant, but I think it will cause them lots of problems in the longrun. Right now, a lot of people who want to visit pepsi.com just go to Google, type in "pepsi", and assume pepsi.com will be the first result. Google seems to want to sidestep this and allow people to search for +Pepsi, which will take them straight to the product page for Pepsi.

So what happens when you have two companies that have the same name? A classic example of this is the problem that rose with Nissan.com. It was registered by a guy who's last name was Nissan, to promote his family's computer business, Nissan computers. Then the car company tried to sue them to kingdom come.

Bring this dynamic into Google Plus. You have two companies called Nissan, and they both want product pages. Do you let them both be "+Nissan", do you force them to be "+Nissan Cars" and "+Nissan Computers", or do you let one be "+Nissan" and one be "+Nissan Computers", based on trending and search results? Or do you let one pay you lots of money to be ranked above the other?

If this sounds familiar, it's because it's both a recreation of the phone book, as well as Yahoo before they turned portal. I sense Google will get away with paid ranking because "it's their product" and they don't have to deal with net neutrality issues.

My trust in Google just tanked even more.

Talk of paid rankings are premature and mentioning net neutrality is a red herring. Net neutrality has nothing to do with the impartiality of Google Search.

It also appears that the +[keyword] redirect in Google Search only happens with verified pages. I assume +[keywords]/Google+ Pages are going to be first-come-first-serve like twitter/facebook/etc with exceptions for trademarks.

Edit: It seems that the +[keywords] redirect is determined algorithmically.

> A page’s eligibility for Google+ Direct Connect is determined algorithmically, based on certain signals we use to help understand your page's relevancy and popularity. In addition to this analysis, we look for a link between your Google+ page and your website. To help Google associate this content, be sure to connect your Google+ page and your website using the Google+ badge, or by adding a snippet of code to your site, in addition to adding your website link to your page.

IDK if this is new or not, but I just checked out my account settings page and it now includes this (default unchecked)

> Automatically add a Google+ page to my circles if I search for + followed by the page's name.

Now we know for sure why Google removed the "+" operator: it's used for the "direct connect feature." E.g. if you search for +pepsi you're redirected to Pepsi's Google+ page.

It's like AOL keywords 2k11!

This is one of the few changes to a Google product that I can think of which was clearly made because someone in marketing wanted it, not because an engineer or designer wanted it.

In the NYTimes coverage (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/google-lets-in-the-...), Horowitz says:

“Over time, I expect ‘+Pepsi’ to emerge on every can, on TV spots and on the Web site and become a cult phenomenon…Over a couple of quarters, brands will learn to utilize this.”

I somewhat doubt that, unless Google offers big cross-promotional subsidies. Which they might, but is sort of the antithesis of a 'cult phenomenon'.

I do find it interesting that Google, the infovore behemoth that killed various 'reserved keyword' schemes (as at AOL and RealNames, and even to some extent domain names) with flexible full-text-search is now reintroducing reserved keywords with 'Direct Connect'.

Does anyone find it a bit ironic that these page URLs are NOT search engine friendly? Just a long string id... seriously Google? Maybe not irony because they own the search engine... but still makes you scratch your head wondering why.

IIRC, people got upset with Google Profiles that your Gmail address was exposed from the URL (eg. profiles.google.com/dave would lead to dave@gmail.com). The URLs are thus anonymized to stop that leakage.

They could/should have a system up for registering company names though.

In what respect are they not "search engine friendly"? Being human-readable or slugged doesn't necessarily make URLs more search engine friendly, nor does it necessarily improve their rank:


It's my understanding that making your URLs human friendly makes them more search engine friendly IF the url contains relevant keywords to the page. The link you provided is just about dynamic vs static urls, which is not what I'm referring to.


Whether or not they're more search engine friendly, if you're looking for Japanese Astrophysics Vocabulary you're more likely to click `/japanese-astrophysics-vocab.html` than `/p?id=47`

That's true if you actually read and interpret the URL (I'd guess that most users don't.) But regardless, I was commenting on the earlier complaint that the URLs aren't "search engine friendly", not that they're not "user friendly." That's all I was trying to address.

Personally the first one would be a red flag for me and i'd be suspicious of autogenerated content. I'd be more likely to go with the second. But from a google results page, the summary is the part i pay the most attention to.

I think it helps a lot in situations where you can't link. TV, radio, word of mouth etc. Currently you would have to tell people to search for your page rather than get them to remember a short /brand

Same with the extensions, for example: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ejnkaeblpdcamcioii...

I don't understand why.

For developers, the extension IDs are actually somewhat important. Plus, handling canonical URLs in a massive store could be a bit hairy (Android Market does it because all developers declare their own IDs, Chrome extension IDs are made by Chrome itself.)

That's actually Icelandic.

I suspect that Google will eventually do what Facebook did, and allow you to choose your own URL.

With FB a standard profile link looks like facebook.com/profile.php?id=xxxxxxxx but can be changed to facebook.com/your.name.here

I'm hoping it's something like:


Just went through the effort of registering a support account to create a page to be greeted with, "Google Pages isn't ready for everyone." (It did take me a good long while to find that tiny text at the bottom of the page.)

Meanwhile, the support account is now being added to a bunch of users' circles automatically and recommended to thousands of others. Fabulous.

Only comforted by the fact that I used a Support Account to test this, instead of my real corporate account, thus angering the Google "Real Name" gods...so in good news, maybe the profile will be automatically deleted anyway.

Update: I went ahead and disabled Google Plus for my domain & users for now. I look forward to using Google+ from an Apps account once there's a way to exclude users' address books from the G+ suggestion engine (should be a check box on signup, no?).

There's no way I'll be 'Liking' things on my G+ account.

I've ruined my FB account by liking every damn thing on the Internet that interested me, and since the FB Like button debuted I've accumulated over 1000 likes.

They now combine to fill my news feed with 99% noise, drowning out the posts from my real friends. Since I don't spend every second of the day monitoring my FB account, posts from real friends get pushed below the fold before the next time I login, and I miss them.

To make matters worse, FB has apparently disabled the Unlike button from the settings page that allows you to see all your likes in one dialog, which is apparently the closest thing to a bulk unlike available (you still have to click Unlike for each page, but at least they're all there in a convenient list).

So the only way to unlike stuff is apparently to visit each page, scroll down to the Unlike button in the bottom of the left menu, click it, then proceed to do the same for the next 1000+ pages. Not. I'm just switching over G+ instead.

Even with G+ I've made the mistake of subscribing to a bunch of shared circles, and there's an impedance mismatch between the topic of the circles, and the Public posts of the people in them. Even if I subscribe to say, a Python Developers circle, I still get people's public posts of pictures of dinner last night, etc., that is just more noise.

At least G+ makes it easy to fix the problem via unsubscribing, but what they could really use is the ability to add filters to circles based on hashtags. So if someone in my Python circle makes a public post that doesn't have #python, #pypy, #tornado, or some other python-related hastag that I've specified in my Python circle filter, that post won't show up in my feed.

But after having learned the hard way twice, I can guarantee I at least won't be adding more spammy businesses and whatnot to my G+ feed.

Just an idea, but wouldn't simply making a Facebook List of real people fix this? I never actually visit facebook directly, I just have a link directly to a list of people I actually want to communicate with. Better still, recently if you are viewing a list, status updates default to being sent visible ONLY to the members of the list.

would require all his friends to opt into posting to the list, no?

The main issue he was describing: news feed overflow; is solved by the list. I'm not so sure what the visibility is of people replying to things you said that were marked visible only to the list. Probably just the list as well, no?

No; you're thinking of a group, GP meant a filter (a friend list).

Just click the little down-arrow in the upper-right corner of a post, and you'll get various options for hiding posts and unsubscribing.

This is, by the way, something that has been possible for quite some time now.

On Facebook there's a "Hide all by this poster..." or similarly-worded option in the context menu in the top-right of the post (appears on hover as a globe). This is how I stop myself from seeing updates from things I hate on my falsified profile.

Google+ sucks so far, and the stuff they are adding does nothing to improve it, just adds more cruft.

Lately I am seeing a big "What's hot on Google+" section on top of the feed, showing antiquated Youtube memes from people I don't know. No way to remove it.

They are obviously trying hard to appeal to the mainstream audience (Hang out with Kermit and Ms. Piggy!). It seems weird for Google, unauthentic somehow. Their core 'fans', if that word applies, are engineers - I wonder if they wouldn't be better served seeding Google+ with the geek community and letting that user base evangelize the service.

Well, Google real customers are advertisers. They sure need to welcome their customers in their network.

That's right, and think about what that makes you, the consumer. Hint - you're the thing being sold to Google's customers.

Pepsi's google+ id is: 111883881632877146615

I can't imagine them putting that in a subway ad.

Isn't that the point of their new "+" term in Google Search? Now the company can put "+Pepsi" in a subway ad. It operates under the same assumption of Twitter's "@Pepsi", where they assume people know what service to go to. In this case that service is Google.com.

Does that mean each "pages" name will be unique in the global namespace? Currently with "real names" they aren't unique which is one down-side compared to Twitter (although it has upsides as well).

From the Direct Connect help page:

> A page’s eligibility for Google+ Direct Connect is determined algorithmically, based on certain signals we use to help understand your page's relevancy and popularity. In addition to this analysis, we look for a link between your Google+ page and your website. To help Google associate this content, be sure to connect your Google+ page and your website using the Google+ badge, or by adding a snippet of code to your site, in addition to adding your website link to your page.

Names in Google+ aren't unique. There are over 100 "Darth Vader" accounts last I checked.

If they're expecting anyone to use the product this decision is beyond moronic.

So much for their own recommendation [1]:

> For example, if you're searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5e..., is much less appealing to users.

[1] http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answe...

They'll just use something like http://pepsi.com/+ as a redirect, or use http://gplus.to/.

I can only assume that non technical users would balk at clicking through to +1 this https://plus.google.com/106281600940449244340 vs plus.google.com/cowboys

But then again I wonder what the traffic breakdown of Facebook page likes is. 25% external (ie dallas cowboys site) 25% direct to their facebook page, 40% search, 10% newsfeed? (Random numbers)

Google could be driving search for pages instead of direct links, I guess that gets an extra page view out of the user's interaction. Just a random guess.

On the contrary, non-technical users will click on anything :)

I've noticed a while ago that Google just doesn't get "vanity URL's".

Dear Google, I'm not going to switch from Facebook to you if you copy what Facebook does! Google plus should give us experience which Facebook does not give. Google plus is just adding up missing features. Google, try to come up with a killer social experience which we have never seen before. That is how you get users stick to your social site. if you are again giving us the same old shit, you are losing to Facebook.

I don't know, I think the idea of Hangouts with the Google+ Pages is kind of neat. Maybe it won't work for giant corps like Pepsi, but smaller companies might find it an interesting way to engage fans? Maybe demo things? I don't know, seems interesting.

Youtube integration is a killer feature for me.

You can have a sneakpeek at G+ Pages' creation by deleting the overlaying elements with your inspection tools at


Looks promising, it integrates with Google Places

Can you tell what manipulations are needed exactly to make it work?

I think they just rolled it out for me, so I can't actually tell you which were the interested DIVs. Anyway, just point your cursor on the overlays and "inspect" them. Then delete the nodes.

really? Mean, does it allow to create new page?

Nope, it didn't allow any operation further than the data insertion/retrieving.

It will be very interesting to see how, say, a given restaurant's Google Plus page appears in search results compared to its Yelp and/or Facebook equivalents. If Google highlights the + page in search results with rich page information (eg daily specials, updates, etc.), Yelp and Facebook have a problem.

Isn't this precisely the kind of thing that will trigger anti-competition lawsuits?

If Facebook or someone else is unhappy with this they can just make their own search engine. I don't see an issue with Google promoting another Google product on it's own search page.

It is as if Google is desperately trying to become old Yahoo.

How long do you give before G+ officially dies? I give it another year, tops.

I do think it's pretty much dead unofficially, credit to a mediocre product and a suicidal(or non-existent) adoption strategy.

I sincerely doubt the service will die in a "year, tops" with 40 million users, as of the last numbers we've heard. Do you have any actual evidence or data to back up your opinion, or are you merely spouting random personal bias?

I signed up for G+ when it launched. I haven't been on it in months. And yet I am sure I am one of those 40M members cited by Google. That 40M figure is garbage. 40M may have tried G+; but a very small percentage are hooked to it or like it. G+ won't tell us what percentage that is but it's a pretty solid bet when a company refuses to share engagement metrics, it is because they don't look good.

Exactly: random personal bias. Just because you haven't been back there doesn't mean anything about the rest of the user base. The same could be said about anyone that's signed up for Facebook or Twitter and are part of their 600 and 100 million user statistics, respectively.

I'm as curious to see engagement metrics as much as the next guy, but I'm not reading tea leaves to predict doom and destruction for not happening to release those numbers just 6 weeks after the site came out of beta. You're trying too hard.

I don't consider this as "reading tea leaves":

Despite the bullish talk about levels of engagement on Google Plus, I continue to find it strange that Google won't tell us how many of the reported 40+ million users are active, daily users.

Frustrated at not getting a straight answer to that, I optimistically asked Gundotra if he would at least give me the percentage of active daily users to total. But he wouldn't be drawn into that question either.

So I asked: what kinds of things are people doing on Google Plus right now? Vic Gundotra pointed to photo sharing.

"Since we went to field trial on June 28," he remarked, "we've had 3.4 billion photos uploaded to Google Plus."


"I sincerely doubt the service will die in a "year, tops" with 40 million users"

Naive much? That translates to we have 40M rows in a database table, please be impressed and don't ask us for engagement.

Keep in mind that Buzz is still officially alive through January 15, 2012, and that its "death" was only announced three weeks ago.

Google+ already seems to be much more popular than Buzz. I'm sure it will last quite a long time.

Google+ already seems to be much more popular than Buzz.

How do you know? There are two reasons one may feel that a product is very popular:

1. You read about it all over the media 2. You hear from friends screaming at you to get on it cuz it's "sooo good!"

With Google+, it's almost all #1 and very little to none of #2. If anyone knows about facebook's early years, it was the complete opposite. The press barely knew about facebook(part of it was because you needed a .edu email to just get in). And yet facebook kept piling on users and even more importantly, engagement.

So sure Google+ may have convinced 40M of hundreds of millions of google.com users to click on a button and agree to opt in to google+, but that doesn't mean jack in the social network game. It's all about engagement. And Google+'s engagement is next to nothing.

My Google+ feed is significantly more active than my Facebook feed. I see hundreds of Google+ posts go by in a day, but only about 3 or 4 Facebook posts.

Facebook is dying!

"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." That seems almost too touchy-feely. The possibilities do make the mind wander, however.

It's about time but surely quite a bit half-baked ...

Right now, there's no concept of having page "administrators", so the person who creates the page is the only one who can post to it. Also, no transfer of "ownership". Both these things are "coming soon" apparently but make the whole experience a bit suboptimal right now.

Anyone else getting a new favicon? I was just getting used to the + one, now its an orange g+ that does not look very nice.


I followed the link to create a page and after logging in I got a message 'the pages wasn't ready for everyone yet'. So I guess the marketers got ahead of the implementers once again.

Would have killed them to come up with a name other than "Pages"?

Google wants to become the WWW itself. Is this good?

People said the same thing about Facebook, but I very much doubt that's their focus. Some seem to confuse mass user bases with somehow "becoming the Internet itself." Frankly, that argument is bizarre to me and a tad hyperbolic.

How does this differ from a Google Plus page? I am trying hard but I cannot see it.

Google actively removes non-individual Google+ accounts.

I'd imagine in the future Google+ pages will be like Facebook pages - the ability to add apps etc.

You can use a name that doesn't appear on your government issued ID?

Admittedly off-topic, but when is Google going to improve the design of their internal blogs?

Yeah, I know that sort of thing isn't their focus, but this is just painful. At first glance it looks like an unprofessional, unpolished website. If nothing else, a bit more line-height and some strategically-placed padding!

I have a feeling we'll start to see a switch away from Google's official blogs to instead their official Google+ pages. Which is kind of a shame since I like RSS, and going through archives, etc.

I don't have an example handy, but some of the internal blogs were testing out a new set of templates for Blogger that were very slick looking.

And they don't work - at all - without JavaScript.

That's the Brave New Web.

Also, the company google pages linked to in the article only display here as empty white page without js, even though html source shows a lot of html and javascript. Or is it my adblock preemptively blocking entire company page? :)

Are brand pages necessary? I think I prefer G+ as a human only network, not sure products fit into the circles analogy.

Yes, they're necessary, so you can tell the difference.

Companies were already making G+ Profiles, even though it was against the terms of use.

Agreed. I appreciated G+ because it was different, not made for brands, and purposely excluded brands.

Whatever they have to do to push new streams of ad rev though...

If you don't want to interact with brands then you don't have to follow any.

Following is the signal of death.

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