Google will start approving applications for select businesses to launch brand profile pages for Google+ next week. They are still accepting applications, but only until tomorrow.
You may have seen a brand page or two in the wild already, but these will be shut down from the sound of it. It remains to be seen just when everyone will be able to have their own brand page, but rest assured, it will come about eventually. How could it not.
Here's the latest from Google's Chrstian Oestlien:
If you have not already, please be sure to submit your business for our test phase. You can apply to be a part of this test here:http://goo.gl/zq95C . We will be closing this form on Friday (July 15th) at 6pm PST. To the thousands upon thousands of businesses that applied to be a part: THANK YOU! We won't be able to accommodate everyone, but your interest has got us very focused on accelerating our development plans.
+Dennis Troper (product manager for business profiles), myself and the rest our team will focus next week on selecting a diverse set of business partners for the test period. We will be communicating with these partners next week, and will let the world know who they are soon thereafter. Please note that we are still actively closing profiles that are being used by businesses today. Stay engaged on Google+ with your personal account and continue to send us your excellent feedback. We'll continue to be very proactive in communicating with everyone around our plans for businesses.
For example, Google's Bradley Horowitz asked today, "Does anyone have any ideas about how hangouts might be useful in a business setting?".
The Head of Google's cloud apps biz, Dave Girouard, posts, "Enterprise folks, when you hear "engagement", it's codeword for involvement, commitment, and productivity - exactly what you need from your employees. G+ will be awesome for your business - more info soon on this."
Scott McMullan a software entrepreneur and product manager working at Google on the Apps Marketplace posted this in response to a blog post, "Some good points raised on the potential fit of Google+ for businesses. I am (not surprisingly) in Dennis' camp on this one..."
Google is clearly thinking business with Google+, which is a huge counterpoint to Facebook's more entertainment oriented focus.
Brands have been a major part of Facebook use for quite some time. Rohit Bhargava wrote on his Influential Marketing Blog:
The "Like button" is clicked a total of 91 million times every month. And many of those clicks are for brand sponsored pages. Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend and speak at Intel's internal conference focused on social media. More than 125 social media pioneers from within Intel came from around the world to participate, and one of the speakers was Aimee Westbrook from Facebook. Among the many interesting facts about brands working with Facebook that she shared was this data point which should make any marketer sit up in their chair: 50% of all the people on Facebook have clicked the "Like" button on a brand page in the last 30 days.
Considering all of Google's other business-specific products, there is tremendous potential for some very important integrations with Google+.