by Brian Womack
July 9, 2011
Google Inc. is readying business- focused features for the Google+ social-networking site, potentially opening up new competition with Facebook Inc.’s company pages and sites such as LinkedIn Corp.
The business tools are expected to be available later this year, said Christian Oestlien, a product manager at Mountain View, California-based Google.
“Right now we’re very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience, but we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+," Oestlien said on a YouTube video.
Google+ was unveiled June 28, marking a fresh attempt to compete with Facebook’s site. The service has similar features as Facebook, with streaming updates of photos, messages, comments and other content from selected groups of friends.
Google has set up a test version for businesses, Oestlien said. It will link up with existing Google services, such as its AdWords advertising system for Internet searches.
“It’ll include things like rich analytics and the ability to connect that identity to other parts of Google that businesses might use on a daily basis like AdWords,” he said.
Google has struggled to handle demand for Google+, which for now is an invitation-only service. Oestlien recommended that businesses not create Google+ accounts with the current consumer version.
Google’s shares fell $14.61, or 2.7 percent, to $531.99 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has declined 10 percent this year.
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