Color me unimpressed with Google Pages so far.
So it seems business owners have been waiting for four months for the following slew of features:
* The ability to create a business page that is distinct from your own personal page…oookay, but so what? This is what we’ve been expecting as the most fundamental capability of branded pages from the get-go, so I’m not so sure Google should get a cookie for this.
Also, as Robert Scoble pointed out in great detail, it’s easy to flip back and forth between your personal page and your business page…to the point that you can easily lose track of where you are. Worse, the page was designed as if one person were managing the brand page. For myself, this isn’t an issue. For a 24/7 organization that may have multiple marketing folks and customer service reps trying to interact with customers, this is pretty limiting.
* Users can now search for businesses easily using Direct Connect. By adding a + before the company’s name, you can instantly find the company and add them to your circles…interesting concept, and limited at the time being to just a few companies. But I’ve gotta wonder. I can enter in +P and instantly have Pepsi suggested to me…or +A and Amazon pops up right away. What happens when this thing really takes off? Will we have a list of the top companies that begin with A, such as Amazon, or Amana, or Apple? At best, this will benefit a few very large companies. I’d like to see how this is put into practice for a much smaller company. What benefits will they have?
Perhaps certain terms and keywords will become the subject for new advertising wars. Anyone want to find out what it would take to have +Social link directly to their business page?
* Google Pages work seamlessly with Hangouts…again, this seems like functionality that could’ve been launched on nearly day one. Why did businesses have to wait several months for a feature that individuals have had right from the get go?
* Google Pages allows businesses to group their customers with Circles…See Hangouts. I can do this with standard accounts.
So why do I keep coming back and why have I set up my own page on Google+ if I’m so underwhelmed?
It’s the search.
You still can’t ignore the SEO juice that’s being generated when someone clicks that +1 button. I’m certain we’ll see similar results for businesses that have established their own pages now through Google’s official means for doing so. This may just be an opening salvo of features for Google Pages, and hopefully it improves remarkably quick with greater administration capabilities and perhaps integration with Google Analytics.
I’m just left with the feeling that the number of vocal and unhappy businesses that wanted to establish a presence on Google+ back in the summer caught Google off guard. These feel less like features for businesses, and more like a tacked-on “placeholder” until the REAL business pages show up.