Google Launches Google+ Pages Worldwide

In a blog post today, Google’s Vic Gundotra announced that Google+ Pages is now available worldwide. In a nutshell, Pages allows you to connect with things and entities, such as sports teams, favorite products, local businesses, and so on--as opposed to only other people, which is what G+ has offered thus far.

The addition of Pages is more than just a little feature tweak for the young social network; this is a huge deal, and it could help G+ gain some meaningful ground on the competition. In addition to the traffic boost G+ will no doubt enjoy today from press coverage such as this post you’re reading now, allowing businesses and brands to create a space on the social network will enable them to better interact with and draw in customers and fans. By proxy, Google+ itself will draw in a great deal of traffic, too.

Facebook already offers some of these capabilities, and the aforementioned entities are taking full advantage of it. However, G+ offers some features that Facebook does not. Specifically, in addition to being able to add a business or brand to your circles, +1 your favorites, and take advantage of “Google+ only deals”, customers/fans and businesses/brands can set up Hang Outs and interact live.

This is especially powerful for smaller, local businesses that can leverage G+ to actively form bonds and create a community with current and potential customers.

Currently, the Google+ Pages “Create a page” site asks you to choose from one of the following categories: Local Business or Place; Product or Brand; Company, Institution, or Organization; Arts, Entertainment, or Sports; or Other.

G+ Pages will turn up in Google search results, in two ways: one, Pages will show up in results as you might expect them to, as the second or third hit, behind a company’s actual website. However, Google is rolling out a new feature called Direct Connect that lets you enter “+” and [name of entity] in a Google search bar to go directly to that entity’s Pages site.

The astute conspiracy theorist will note that the latter feature is designed to effectively circumvent a business or brand’s actual website and send that traffic directly to Google+. However, it is a nice way to quickly find something you’re looking for if that something’s Web presence isn’t big enough to rise to the top of the search results.