What is Google+?
Google+ (pronounced Google Plus) is a social networking platform that was launched by search engine giant, Google, in June 2011. When it was initially launched, Google+ was confusing to many, and most of its features catered to personal users (and perhaps, curiosity seekers). For this reason, Google+ was not taken seriously by the business community at larger as few users could seem to figure out how to use Google+ for business networking.
By the end of the year that would change. Google began offering new features designed with businesses in mind, and heavily promoted its budding social network. It did not take too long for business owners to take notice and wonder, "what is that little +1 thing I keep seeing all over the place now and how can I use that to my advantage?"
How Many People Use Google+?
Within several months of its launch, more than 40 million people were already using Google+. While this may sound like a small number compared with 800 million Facebook users, consider that Google+ grew more in its first few months than any other social network -- despite being confusing, clunky, offering a user interface that was seriously lacking Facebook's polish and features. But by September 2011, not yet even six months old yet, Google+ had grown large enough to boasting having one-third the number of users as were on LinkedIn (LinkedIn had 135 million members by late fall 2011.)
Circles, The Basic Concept Behind Google+
When Google+ was first launched the basic concept of "Circles" was designed to meet the needs and interests of Facebook personal users who simply want more control over how they interacted with the connections. Think of Circles as groups of people (connections), or even as Facebook "friends." Circles include all your connections but offer users far more flexibility in determining how to group people than Facebook currently does.
Circles are categories or groups you create and assign people (connections) to so that you can share information with a particular group of people rather than with all your connections. For example, you may wish to share personal information with your family, but not with your coworkers. Creating a different Circle to separate the two groups (one for family and on for coworkers) allows you to do just that.
Create a Circle then simply drag and drop connections into them.
Google+ Pages Launched to Attract Businesses Interested in New Branding Strategies
Google quickly began to realize that without attracting a large following from the business community it was not likely to give Facebook a truly serious run for its money. In late November of 2011, Google launched the ability to create Google+ Pages in order to encourage businesses to start using their new social network.
Because Google remains the most popular search engine on the planet, it is extremely important for all business owners to pay close attention to what Google is doing as a company, as well as with its search engine. Bing is already using Facebook branding as part of their algorithm, and it is extremely likely that Google search performance could soon be impacted by whether or not your business uses Google+ Pages, and, if so, how effectively.
What Pages Do and Do Not Do
Pages cannot add people to Circles until the page is added first, or mentioned, and Google+ Pages cannot mention you, unless you are connected to the Page.
Google+ Pages cannot receive notifications via text or email, and cannot share Extended Circles.
When you create a business page, the default setting is public. If you do not want your page to be public, you will have to change the settings to private.
Just as with Facebook, profiles are for individual people only, but pages can be made for many different entities, including businesses.
If you unfollow a page, the page will automatically unfollow you as well.
All Google+ Pages have a +1 Button, but they cannot +1 other pages and they cannot +1 content on social networks or content on websites.