Google has unveiled Google+ Badges for brand pages, a widget that lets brands promote their presence on Google’s social network.
Google+ Badges are similar in form and function to Facebook‘s Like Box social plugin. The easily embeddable widget lets users either +1 a webpage or add that page to their Google+ circles. The widget also displays the faces of other users who have +1ed the webpage. It doesn’t have Facebook’s ability to display your friends’ faces first, though.
The launch of Google+ Badges coincides with Monday’s launch of Google+ Brand Pages, finally giving businesses the ability to create a presence on Google’s growing social network.
The Google+ Badge has a few other tricks. “The Google+ badge also contains a snippet of code that connects your website to your Google+ page,” the company said in an email to developers. “In addition to helping us better index your Google+ page, this snippet will help you show more personal recommendations around the web by linking your +1’s on sites, your Google+ page, search and display ads.”
Google also revealed that the badge is a requirement for inclusion in Google Direct Connect, a feature that makes it possible for users to find a Google+ Page from Google Search. Users type in the “+” operator, followed by the name of a brand participating in Direct Connect. The search result will lead users directly to the company’s Google+ brand page.
The widget was a necessary component for Google+, given the success of its Facebook counterpart. While it doesn’t have the same benefits Facebook enjoys with Open Graph, the Google+ Badge gets the job done. Google still has a long, uphill battle to convince both brands and users that its social network is an ideal place to do business.