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Google+ warms up to businesses

Google's map of Google+.

Kai Ryssdal: I'm yet not among the lucky millions who've been invited to join Google+. They're intentionally limiting admission to maintain some kind of cool factor, I guess. Whatever.

They've also banned businesses so far, but it seems all those users are just too juicy to ignore. Today, Google said it will open things up to select members of the corporate world next week. Marketplace's Steve Henn has that story.


Steve Henn: There is no faster way to kill a budding social network than by flooding it with spammy, annoying messages.

Josh Bernoff: This person joined you on Google+. That person joined you on Google+.

Josh Bernoff wrote the social marketing guide Groundswell. He says so far, Google+ had a good launch, but opening up the network to businesses is risky.

Bernoff: I'm reminded of the quip that Yogi Berra supposedly made about a restaurant where he said, 'Nobody goes there anymore. It's just too crowded.'

Facebook grew into the biggest social network in the world by limiting ads early on and trying to stay hip. But things have changed, says Michael Gartenberg at Gartner Research.

Michael Gartenberg: People have come to expect the idea of brands associated with social networks, they have come to expect the idea of social commerce.

And giants like Google and Facebook have come to depend on it. There's a reason Facebook is valued at almost $100 billion. But Google+ is taking it slow. The social network will open the doors to a couple hundred of the businesses next week, and being among them will be harder than landing a spot on American Idol. Here's Gartenberg.

Gartenberg: For businesses, it is a great time to get on, to learn what Google is doing, to get involved with the ecosystem at an early stage before perhaps their competitors.

But just like American Idol, there's a chance you'll embarrass yourself in front of millions. Josh Bernoff says for now, Google+ is for the lucky and the brave.

Bernoff: Well you know you are staking a claim on an unexplored continent. And you don't know if the first step you are going to take will lead you to a big trove of gold or a pit of alligators.

Businesses have until tomorrow to apply.

In Silicon Valley, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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