If you’re a business looking to pounce on the latest massive social media outlet, Google+, you’d do well to heed the latest warning from the Google camp.
The search engine giant has revealed that it is currently developing a Google+ experience specifically for businesses and asks brands who are interested in using the site to hold on and not create their Google+ profiles just yet.
Product Manager Christian Oestlien broke the news in a Google+ post and accompanying YouTube video. Oestlien explained that the Google+ team were working on a unique Google+ platform for businesses which would include extensive analytics and the ability to connect to other Google products such as AdWords, reasoning that "How users communicate with each other is different from how they communicate with brands".
The news comes a little late for a number of prominent brands. Ford, Breaking News, and web news outlet Mashable are among a number of companies who already use the site. But Oestlien assures us that good things come to those who wait.
"The business experience we are creating should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses," he says. "We just ask for your patience while we build it. In the meantime, we are discouraging businesses from using regular profiles to connect with Google+ users. Our policy team will actively work with profile owners to shut down non-user profiles."
The Google+ business user platform is not expected to be introduced until later in the year, but a prototype is expected to launch in the meantime, in order to trial the brand orientated profiles with "a few marketing partners". This experiment will take place within a matter of months and companies can even apply to take part, within a Google Spreadsheet, accessible via the original post.
If you’re among the many non-user early birds, it is not clear as to whether or not Google+ will shut down your profile completely or attempt to augment it somehow. What is sure is that you won’t be catching the word, just yet.
Remarkably, Google+ isn’t the first social network to experience a seemingly unexpected influx of brand-based involvement. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google Buzz were all invaded by big businesses and that Google+ would be the same shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Perhaps the only surprise is that the Google+ team hadn’t predicted as much and prepared and optimised Google+ experience for businesses from the outset.
For now, the message from Google+ is to exercise some patience and wait until your company can benefit from a dedicated brand-orientated experience. Until then, this new pool of internet-dwelling consumers will remain an untapped resource.
The business & commercial presence will be key to how the +1 buttons are used. If the Google+ system remains a network of friends and family then the commercial networking opportunities stemming from your pages being +1ed will be limited. If however Google+ has a LinkedIn style business niche aspect to it then it could well become a vital tool in promoting your site towards your key target audience. Whilst all this ignores the SEO implications of how the +1 votes will be incorporated into the Google Algorithm it will still be an extremely important issue for the take-up of this latest Google innovation