Toward that end, Google provided participants with the ability to invite friends to the closed test of the service. A few hours later, the invitation icon was removed.
Google's business customers, specifically users of Google Apps, have to wait a bit longer to try Google+. The Google Profiles service, a required component of Google+, has not been compatible with Google Apps for several months. Google engineers are working to remedy the situation but there are significant hurdles to overcome, particularly while Google+ is still working through various privacy issues.
"Right now, we're very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience," said Google product manager Christian Oestlien in a video update. "But we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+."
Oestlien said that Google hopes to make its social networking service available to businesses later this year. "It will include things like rich analytics, and the ability to connect [a Google+] identity to other parts of Google that businesses might use on a daily basis, like AdWords."
Oestlien asked businesses not to create consumer Profiles for Google+ in the interim.
Google will be admitting a small group of businesses into a Google+ pilot test to see how users interact with commercial brand Profiles through the various Google+ services, like Circles and Hangouts. Organizations interested in participating in the test should fill out this Web form, which Google has only publicized in a video shared among those already admitted to Google+.
Oestlien's request comes too late for some businesses, like Ford Motor Company, which has already embraced Google+. On Thursday, Ford hosted a live chat with Matt Van Dyke, director of marketing communications for the auto company, and encouraged Google+ users to visit a Hangout, a multi-person video chat room, after the presentation.
On Monday, Ford Europe launched what may have been the first attempt at social marketing on Google+, a contest to write the best caption for an image, with the winner determined by the number of +1 votes. The contest garnered more than 80 comments, from which a winner was chosen and awarded the Xbox 360 game Dirt 3.
Yet, Ford is still figuring out how businesses fit into Google's social landscape. In a post on Wednesday, the company said, "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?"
That's a question a lot of businesses are asking both internally and externally, not just about Google+ but about Facebook and other social networks. Are businesses "friends" or something else?
See the latest IT solutions at Interop New York. Learn to leverage business technology innovations--including cloud, virtualization, security, mobility, and data center advances--that cut costs, increase productivity, and drive business value. Save 25% on Flex and Conference Passes or get a Free Expo Pass with code CPFHNY25. It happens in New York City, Oct. 3-7, 2011. Register now.