One of the most common complaints about Google+ has been the absence of branded pages for businesses. That should change from today, as the aspiring social network has launched Google+ Pages. Soon, any business will be able to create a page, a move that could really re-kickstart the whole network, and the new Direct Connect feature might make it even easier to reach customers.
So far, a limited number of brands have created their own profiles. There’s a page for The Muppets, one for Fox News, even one for FC Barcelona. Conspicuously, however, it seems that so far businesses can’t brand their URLs, something that might leave Google+ still trailing behind Facebook in terms of brand appeal.
Perhaps more interestingly, Google+ has also launched a feature called Direct Connect. This introduces a new search operator, [+], that is designed to take users directly to a company’s Google+ page. Direct Connect doesn’t work for all pages yet, and sites have to qualify via (you guessed it) an algorithm. Still, it’s an interesting use of the Google search engine to leverage popularity for Google+ business profiles.