The above video was released this week as “a quick update on Google+ and our plans to support brands, businesses, and beyond,” says Christian Oestlien, a product manager on the closely-watched Google+ launch.
"The business experience we are creating should far exceed the consumer profile in terms of its usefulness to businesses. We just ask for your patience while we build it," Oestlien added, referring to companies who thought they had a head start, but now find only a select test group is in, including some of Google's biggest advertisers (and — ahem! — rivals).
The decision to shut down "business" profiles came 24 hours after Search Engine Watch reported on a fake profile posturing as the Google+ team, and publishing rumors such as Google+ going public before July 31st, and Google's planned rebranding of Picasa and Blogger.
Frank Watson at Search Engine Watch calls the shutdown of branded Google+ profiles “a double standard. All business profiles should be deleted and then re-created with permission as part of the experiment, otherwise they are just creating further incentive to brands to get a business profile up and get a head start on attracting followers now, in the hope that Google will allow them to continue. If Google insists webmasters and brands play by the rules in search, it does not behoove them to bend the rules in social.”
ABC News, The Next Web and Mashable, had all set up a presence, but Ford beat them to the punch as the first brand to set up (and maintain) a Google+ profile. Ford remains active with two Google+ accounts, one for The Ford Motor Company and another for Ford Europe.
Information Week reports that Ford yesterday hosted a live chat with Matt Van Dyke, director of marketing communications, inviting Google+ users to visit a Hangout, post-presentation.
On Monday, Ford Europe launched a contest for best caption for an image to be chosen by +1 votes, which solicited over 80 comments, and a winner of Xbox 360 game Dirt 3.
Mid-week, Ford posted: "We're experimenting on Google+ and we've seen comments, both pro and con, about our presence. What would you like to see from us, in order to get the most value from interacting?"
Google initially enabled participants to invite friends to the closed test – but hours later, removed the invitation icon. Oestlien responded in his own Google+ post that the business feature is not yet optimized for marketers.
"We have been watching Google+ take shape over the last week and we've seen some really great companies get involved. But frankly we know our product as it stands is not optimally suited to their needs. In fact, it was kind of an awkward moment for us when we asked Ford for his (or was it her?) gender."
Cue Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford, who commented:
"It's a priority for us to understand what's on the cutting edge and where influencers are going and look at the technology shaping the way people are communicating. Normally we try to go where the mainstream are. In certain circumstances we'll be an early adopter because we see the potential."
Monty added, "The Huddle chat capability has potential for webinars, analyst calls, even customer service, for people to have a face-to-face experience of the brand.”
More than 300 people have added Ford to their "Circles," or list of contacts, and the brand said on its main Google+ page that it was "disappointed" about "curtailing" corporate activity so quickly, but would "look forward" to helping in future tests.
That's right — even Ford, branding's Google+ early adopter, must hurry up and wait.
Meanwhile at Herb Allen's annual Sun Valley retreat for media moguls this week, Eric Schmidt was upbeat with reporters, saying there's been strong demand for invitations to the week-old service, and "There is a lot coming.”
As for antitrust probes from the European Commission and the FTC, he added, "We are calm about this. There is not a lot of drama."
Well, that's one Google plus.