Google+ now open for businesses
Google+ is now open for businesses.
The new social-networking service is for the first time allowing brands and businesses to create their own pages.
Welcoming businesses is part of an effort to get people to spend more time on Google+. Google is also looking to replicate the success that Facebook has had with businesses that turn to social media to develop relationships with customers.
Google said that 20 businesses have already set up pages on Google+, including Pepsi, H&M, the Dallas Cowboys and Toyota, and that other businesses would soon be able to do the same.
Businesses wanted to jump on the Google+ bandwagon early on, but Google barred them from signing up and terminated businesses using regular Google+ accounts until the Internet search giant launched formal business pages.
Google said it has signed up more than 40 million users for Google+ since launching the service in June. Google+ is Google's bid to rival the growing influence of Facebook, which has more than 800 million users.
One of the features available to businesses is called "direct connect." Users who type the plus symbol in front of a business name such as Pepsi or Toyota when searching on Google will be directed to that business' Google+ page.
More features are coming, Google said.
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo: Google IO Developers conference in San Francisco in May. Photo credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press.