After waiting for months with bated breath, brands finally have the Google green signal to create business pages on their fledgling social network – Google Plus. While this move may be touted as the winning move for the social networking platform, there is still a long way to go before they can catch up with Facebook. While both platforms are trying to create their individual identity there are still several aspects that are similar, albeit with different names. The +1 and “Like” buttons, on Google Plus and Facebook respectively, stand to serve the same purpose. Google Plus has the Hangouts feature while Facebook has video chat via Skype. The Circles feature on Google Plus was considered to be one of the primary ways in which they could take over Facebook. This feature allowed users to separate their friends into different categories and differentiate the feeds from the various Circles. However Facebook created the Smart Friend’s lists which provided pretty much the same advantage.
What Google Plus can boast of is their ability to have an impact from a search engine optimization perspective. This comes as no surprise considering Google is the parent company. The +1 button on the site will document the number of brand posts that are “+1ed” and use this information to determine the popularity of the brand in the result pages. This could potentially be a great reason for brands to create a strong presence on Google Plus. Another smart move that Google has done is that it has given the power is the hands of the user. Brands cannot +mention users or add them to their Circles unless the user initiates the move. This is a good move from a privacy perspective.
However the downside is that Google Plus does want the brands on their site to create contests or offer prizes or sweepstakes. The purpose behind this is not exactly clear and could be either a make or break decision for the site. Either Google is looking for a way to handle server load before they allow contests or they want to give fan-brand interaction a genuine twist without adding the greed and temptation of contests into the picture. Whether this takes Google Plus to soaring heights or turns it into yet another Orkut is yet to be seen.