Marking the debut of Google+ brand pages, which was released earlier this week, Christian Oestlien, Google's head of social advertising products and a keynote speaker at Ad:Tech New York, closed yesterday's conference called the new application a way for businesses to connect with their customers.
"We at Google wanted to think about how we could do something a little bit different, how we could influence and impact and make some positive change in the way you as marketers engage with social today," Oestlien said.
During his presentation, Oestlien highlighted several Google+ features, such as its Hangouts feature, which allows up to 10 users to communicate simultaneously via a video conference. Using Intel's Google+ page as an example, he also illustrated the ways that brands can divide content into specific 'circles' or groups that customers can then select, making it easier to deliver information tailored to a customer's preferences.
Finally, Oestlien also highlighted Google+ Ripples, an interactive graphic feature that lets users see who shared what with whom through a series of circles. By selecting "View Ripples" on any public post, marketers, for example, can see the timeline for which it was shared, review comments, identify who its top sharers are, and other statistics.
Noticeably absent from the presentation was any mention of Facebook. Oestlien did not directly refer to the huge social network, even when answering an attendee's question as to whether he thought Google+ could overtake Facebook as the primary social network.
"Certainly there's that features race," Oestlien said. "We want to make sure we can offer great products, but for us, even if there wasn't another social service, this is about transforming your relationship with Google+. If we can take that experience, make it more interesting and personalized, that's something we want to do no matter who else is a contender in the same space."
Facebook is the world's largest social network, with a reported 800 million global users. Since launching in June, Google+ has become the world's fastest growing social network. A July comScore study reported that Google+ had attracted 20 million visitors in 21 days. The social network is now up to 40 million active users.
As for whether or not Google will offer ads on Google+ pages, Oestlien's response was "not yet."