Back in June 2011 Google launched its new social media and networking platform ‘Google Plus’ (also known as Google+ or G+), merging previous services such as Google Profiles and Google Buzz, and adding a host of new features including:
Stream – the main message wall of Google Plus where text, images, videos etc. are added
Circles – enabling users to organize contacts into groups for sharing different content
Hangouts – group video chat for up to 10 users at a time
Messenger – instant messaging for Android, iPhone and SMS devices
Sparks – enabling users to create topics (or sparks!) of interest to share with other users
Initially business profiles were not allowed and any business accounts found were quickly terminated. Google did however promise that business pages would soon be made available after the testing phase was complete, and by November 2011 Google Plus was open for business, offering new opportunities for companies to grow their online presence and to directly connect with customers.