updated 03:05 pm EST, Mon November 7, 2011
Goes even more directly after Facebook
Google today launched Google+ Pages and a new Direct Connect feature. Google+ Pages, much like Facebook's special pages, expands Google+ beyond personal social networking to organizations and businesses. Direct Connect lets a visitor to search for as well as visit to a company's Google+ page by adding a "+" before that company's name in the address bar.
The pages allow viewers to recommend sites using the familiar "+1", or can add them to their circles. To help businesses, Google will soon be activating a creation age to help companies create pages and join the Google+ community. Google will be offering a Muppets page as an example at 7:30PM Eastern.
To help draw traffic to Google+ Pages, the company has added the Pages to Google search with a "Direct Connect" feature. To find Pages using the search, a person needs only to ad a "+" before their search term. Google then makes it possible to add that page to the viewer's circles quickly instead of having to hunt it down.
Google originally went live with Google+ in late June. It initially kept businesses and organizations off the social networking service, giving Facebook an edge for companies or even just celebrities who don't necessarily want their personal profiles available to everyone. The launch of Google+ Pages helps Google counteract that void and brings the company into even more head-to-head competition with Facebook.