Quite possibly one of the most anticipated features has arrived to Google Plus, that feature being Google+ Pages. Businesses, products, brands, TV shows, music bands and much more now have the opportunity to create a page on Google+ with the aim to build relationships with their fans, cutomers, etc, who use the social network. Yes, this is similar to Facebook’s very own Page system but with enough differences to make it unique and arguably better.
So you might be thinking, “I don’t have a business so how is this going to benefit me in any way at all?”. These pages give you the ability to interact with these celebrities, businesses or artists directly on a one to one (or even face to face) level while also interacting with the rest of the Google+ community who also follow that page. Whether it’s joining a hangout with a local store, discussing new products from your favourite brand or getting the latest updates about a particular band / artist; Google+ Pages creates the connection for you to do this with total ease and completely free.
Well known figures are already making great use of Google+ Pages and many have already started hangouts with their followers as seen with The All-American Rejects in the picture above. These followers can show their appreciation in return by recommending a page with a +1 or share to other contacts within their circles which will again encourage the page user to keep interacting with it’s followers allowing the circle to continue (please excuse the pun).
So the next question you might be pondering over, “I already follow an artist’s user profile, why would I follow their G+ Page?” So businesses were not able to create Google+ profiles from the start due to the social network’s policy on using real names only, these pages thus allow the businesses and you as a consumer to connect with one another. Artists like Britney Spears however were on Google+ from the start so it’s hard to justify why they would create a separate page and potentially split their followers between two mediums which would both need updating as there is no feature (or sense) to sync the two. It seems this also causes a problem though as anyone can create a Google Plus page meaning that they also have the opportunity to bypass the somewhat strict real name policy and fake a page as a profile as seen in the picture below:
So we have the real Britney Spears regular profile on the left side with the verification tick beside her name. Then we have three Britney Spears pages (as indicated by the symbol below the names) with two of the three trying to pose as the real artist in order to attract followers. Thankfully Google+ users are bright enough to realise it’s not the real Britney but I already foresee floods of unauthentic pages being created similar to what Twitter has experienced so far. Google either needs to make the page creating process a harder one to complete or include the verification tick next to page accounts also so users know exactly who they are following.
I personally can see the feature being abused in these early stages and believe that it needs to work to keep the social network free of clutter and false pages. I for example managed to create the following page in 30 seconds, imagine how many a spammer could create in an hour…