July 08, 2011, 8:52 PM — Google confirmed that it's planning to roll out business profiles to its new Google+ social network. The news is bittersweet for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). Bitter, because it takes time to create new profiles and learn a new ecosystem. Sweet, because what Google can potentially offer through pages for SMBs is significantly more compelling than Facebook's Pages. That's even despite Google+ just getting off the ground, while Facebook counts more than 750 million users.
Why? Since Google's inception in 1998, the company has concentrated on building all the services we already utilize for both personal and business use. All it needs to do now is tie them all together.
Google has asked users not to create business profiles, which are set for release later this year. If you want to be on the entity beta test, you can apply through this form.
Here's a look at what features Google+ for business could offer against Facebook Pages.
Search is a huge feature Google can and will leverage for Google+. Google disabled Realtime Search, which displayed tweets from Twitter and some limited content from Facebook on July 4 after its contract with Twitter expired. Google had little interest in renewing the contract because it will probably integrate its own Google+ live feed into Search. That's the speculation at least. If Google does this, businesses have one more incentive to create a Google+ business page and begin live streaming for a chance to appear organically in real-time on a user's search query. Facebook has no penetration into the search market, and if it's up to Google, it'll stay that way.
Productivity and Communication
Google has the Apps for Business productivity suite, with tools including word processing and calendars, as well as its booming Apps Marketplace of third-party apps. Facebook said it wants to kill email, but tell that to those who check their inbox for work every day, among them some of the 200 million Gmail users. There are at least 3 million businesses using Apps, with the biggest growth among small companies.