Businesses get invited to Google+

Mountain View has rolled out Google+ Pages for local businesses and global brands.

The long-awaited inclusion of businesses on Google’s rapidly evolving social network will allow companies to step up their interaction with potential customers and fans. 

The new feature is also likely to help the search giant compete against the business-friendly Facebook, which currently dominates the social networking space.

A number of corporate entities and brands have already joined Google+, including Angry Birds, Fox News, Dallas Cowboys and Toyota.

In addition to + Pages for businesses, Mountain View has also introduced “direct connect” capabilities from Google search.

“We’re rolling out two ways to add pages to circles from Google search. The first is by including Google+ pages in search results, and the second is a new feature called Direct Connect,” Google product manager Christina Chen explained in a blog post.

“Maybe you’re watching a movie trailer, or you just heard that your favorite band is coming to town. In both cases you want to connect with them right now, and Direct Connect makes it easy – even automatic. Just go to Google and search for [+], followed by the page you’re interested in (like +Angry Birds). We’ll take you to their Google+ page, and if you want, we’ll add them to your circles.”

Note: Direct Connect currently only works for a limited number of pages (like +Google, +Pepsi, and +Toyota), but many more are expected to be introduced in the near future.