social media reviewsHave you created a Google+ page for your business? In this article I’ll show you what three top pages are doing.

Still in its infancy, Google+ has become a very hot topic.

Amid concern that this “new kid on the block” couldn’t compete in a social media landscape owned by Facebook, some have opted to dismiss the platform entirely.

While Google+ and Google+ business pages are still in the early stages, there is growing evidence that they’re here to stay.

You Can No Longer Ignore Google+

Google+ may be the newcomer in social media, but it can no longer be dismissed. And don’t take my word for it. Chris Brogan claims Google+ “changes EVERYTHING.” In a recent article, he cites two factors as being game-changers:

“Search is probably the biggest reason it changes everything. Second, a very wealthy company (Google) is pushing Plus to be a very powerful effort to change the way we share information on the web. They’ve spent money on commercials during many mainstream events, and they’ve changed up many of their disparate applications and processes to point harder toward Google+. They’ve really quickly moved towards building a social backplane that is a lot more functional than any other social network.”

Google+ Updates Coming Fast

Over the past few weeks, there has been a slew of Google+ updates that should make marketers sit up and take notice. The platform already included several integrations with other Google offerings that, according to Jesse Stay (author of Google+ for Dummies), ensure the platform’s staying power.

google+ 360

Google+ is here to stay, with updates coming out almost weekly.

Included in the more recent updates are features such as multiple admins for business pages, “On Air” hangouts, free voice calls, integration with Google Music, face-recognition capabilities and heftier integration with Gmail and contacts. And more exciting updates are on the way, including Google+ check-in deals.

The Google+ team is actively soliciting and responding to user feedback and suggestions on their Google+ page, hinting that more updates are in the works.

How Top Business Brands Are Using Google+

So which brands are finding the most success with Google+ business pages?

I took a look at both the most popular business pages and the most engaging page posts according to The findings were insightful and uncovered some conflicting pieces of data.

For example, the most popular profile on Google+ belongs to Britney Spears with almost 1 million followers. However, the top 10 brand pages are all dedicated to technology and not one page could be categorized under pop culture or entertainment.

Also revealing is the fact that despite the masses flocking to celebrity Google+ profiles, it’s the smaller communities that are actively engaging.

So how do business owners use these insights to help them mount their own Google+ campaigns? Let’s take a closer look at the strategies employed by the top brands on Google+.

Unlike Facebook, Google has prohibited the use of contests or promotions on its business pages. This higher level of engagement on Google+ adds even more value.

After studying the top pages and posts on Google+, I was most impressed with the activity on these pages:

  • +Android
  • +NASA
  • +Funny Pictures and Videos.

Here’s a breakdown of their top-performing content.

#1: Android


Android boasts the most popular business page on Google+.

Android’s Google+ page is THE most popular business page with more than 140,000 fans. Unlike many other big brands’ business pages, Android’s audience is engaged and posts are averaging hundreds of +1’s, comments and shares.

Post frequency on the page runs the gamut from a few posts a day to more than 10. And there doesn’t appear to be any pattern as to which days the page admin is posting the most content.

The page header and many of the posts throughout December centered on their big “10 billion app” celebration. Which begs the question: Have all these promotional posts boosted sales in the Android app store? At this point, Android community managers aren’t ready to comment.

So what’s getting the Google+ Android community all hot and bothered? Here’s a look at their most engaging content:

  • 10 cent apps promotion—In celebration of reaching the milestone of 10 billion app downloads, Android discounted selected apps to only 10 cents. The discounted app promotion ran for 10 days beginning December 6. Each day, the list of discounted apps changed and was posted on the Android Google+ page. These posts were the most engaging, with the initial announcement of the promotion gaining more than 2,000 shares and more than 3,000 +1’s.
  • 10 billion Android app downloads infographic (This post had a +Android callout in the actual post copy, providing two ways friends of users who shared the post could find the page.)
  • Google Currents announcement (Also had the +Android callout in the post copy.)
  • Video content—Original video content posted on the page was also very engaging. Topics included Android game developer interviews, Google+ hangouts demo on a Galaxy Nexus smartphone, animation trumpeting the more than 200 million Android activations and an interview with Keith Richards presented by Google Music.
    google music

    Google Music is a hot topic on the +Android business page, tracking more than 2,500 interactions.

  • Google Music promotions—Top albums discounted to just $1 in the Android Market and free music from bands like Coldplay, which can be instantly shared with your circles on Google+.

#2: NASA


NASA's Google+ page engages followers with almost 15 posts daily.

NASA’s Google+ page is one of the most popular and engaging among all business pages. The page is updated between 5 and 15 times daily with the latest news, photos and videos from NASA.

The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands I’ve outlined in this article.

So how is NASA beating out Britney? Here’s a look at their best-performing content:

  • Invitation to send holiday greetings to the International Space Station crew.
    moon post

    This video explaining the upcoming lunar eclipse was among NASA's top-performing content on Google+.

  • Video content—Topics include NASA shout-out from an elf starring in the new film Arthur Christmas, NASA’s Mars rover’s journey to Mars, Thanksgiving greetings from the new International Space Station commander and a video outlining the upcoming lunar eclipse that garnered a whopping 1,022 shares.
  • News updates—The latest discoveries from the NASA Mars rover, the Kepler mission’s search for inhabitable planets and Voyager’s discoveries at the edge of the solar system.

#3: Funny Pictures & Videos

funny pictures

One of the most engaging pages, Funny Pictures & Videos delivers on its promise.

So I know Funny Pictures & Videos isn’t an actual brand, BUT they are getting outrageous numbers of shares, +1’s and comments on their posts. The content isn’t selling anything and stays “on message” by delivering exactly what they promise: funny pictures and videos.

The absence of any discounts, deals or promotional posts dispels the myth that consumers on social media are only interested in these types of offers.

The page averages about three to five posts daily, with each post receiving hundreds of comments and sometimes THOUSANDS of shares. The page photostrip that spans the top of the page has two simple calls to action: 1) Share This Page and 2) Add to Circles. That message seems to be resonating as the page ranks 13th among the most popular pages, with more than 60,000 followers. Here are some examples of their most engaging content:

  • Animated photos—Topics include a white blood cell chasing down bacteria, importing Facebook data to Google+, a man with his two pet lions and a dog covering himself up with a blanket.
  • Angry birds—Photos depicting the real-life version of the cartoon characters.
  • Cartoons—Good old-fashioned comic-strip style cartoons.
  • Cute animal photos—No explanation needed.
    tech cartoon

    This animated photo depicting Bart Simpson and his classmates interacting with smartphones generated more than 5,000 shares on Google+.

  • Tech-related content—Some of the most engaging content on this page revolves around technology and commentary on how it’s impacting our lives.

Key Insights

After surveying the top pages on Google+, there were several themes or practices that appeared to lead to successful engagement:

  1. The most interactive content includes rich media that offers up something unpredictable and unique.
  2. Knowing your audience and staying “on message” by giving them what they want is a sure way to boost engagement.
  3. Posts based upon recent news events, trending topics and other time-sensitive content tend to be share-worthy.
  4. Creating and promoting a GREAT deal on your products can engage your community, but watch activity carefully as these types of campaigns appear to have a shorter lifespan.
  5. Currently, the Google+ landscape is saturated with technology-themed content, with the related disciplines of science and IT among the most active.
  6. Keeping your campaign calls to action clearly visible on your Google+ page can help with campaign success.

Is the Jury Still Out?

I’m convinced that Google+ is here to stay and that it will continue to provide value to business owners. With capabilities such as video hangouts, free voice calls and slick integration with all of Google’s other tools, new users will continue to flock to the platform. There are many skeptics who completely disagree and feel Google+ will likely go the way of Google’s other failed projects such as Google Lively and Google Buzz.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel it’s time to get onboard the Google+ train? Or are you going to be left waiting on the platform? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • Not sold yet

  • Just as a test I wrote a very specific update on Google+ with a link to my website… Then I searched Google for a long-tail keyword phrase that was in that Google+ update.  

    The Google+ update was the #2 search result.

    When have you ever seen Facebook updates in Google Search results? 

    That should be reason enough to work on Google+.


  • Well I think it is very obvious why the top two are successful, its because they are so well known 

  • Sarah Wood

    Definitely starting to see the site come alive – though not yet from a UK perspective. Like anything else, what you get out of it is directly proportional to what you put in – it is a question of what activity should I stop so that I can spend more time on Google+ – always a tricky balance.

  • Michael Hill

    Google are certainly pushing it in SERPs. But are they doing that for the right reasons or to give it the shot in the arm it needs

  • Danb

    It is google and everything is or should be tied into search results. Ignore it at your peril. And BTW the Hangout Feature is pretty great and should keep Skype from going to a paid model.

  • I completely agree Ryan, I haven’t found many connections happening using Google+ but it is at least worth it for the results on Google search. I’ve seen posts and +1’s showing up all the time now.

  • Managing competitions and promotions with Facebook isn’t flexible as many believe; more at The Google+ notice is here and will be interesting if and how this may change. It would be prudent to thoroughly review before embarking on any activity. TG^

  • Great evaluation – I learned a lot! I’m still trying to figure out how our audience on Google+ is different from that on Facebook since that will drive what type of content to post. Any ideas?

  • Lisa Peyton

    Thanks for the update Ryan. Google’s new social search features will absolutely mean having a Google+ page and profile will help your rankings. Great point!

  • Lisa Peyton

    Perhaps, but there are MANY other well known brands on Google+ NOT getting much love. These guys have to be doing something right. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Lisa Peyton

    Yes, Sarah I completely agree. I’m thinking about crafting my next post on how to efficiently manage this ever expanding world of online networks now available. It has become a full-time job. 🙂 Thanks much for the comment. 

  • Matt, I agree that people are still slow to connect on Google+ so I really push the connections on my blog and in social… I want people to know that is where I’m going.

  • Lisa,

    Have you found the same thing? Google+ is Google and everyone respects Google so it only makes sense that we would respect Google+… right?

  • lisapeyton

    Dan, I completely AGREE! Google Hangouts are great. I have been using them for almost all of my virtual meetings and can’t believe the service is free. I appreciate the comment.

  • lisapeyton

    Sandra, what a GREAT question. My initial thought is to actively listen to your community on Google+. I know there are a few analytics companies now offering Google+ data like SimplyMeasured. You can read about their solution here:

    Once you begin to get to now your G+ peeps a bit better then you can really work to provide some value. Thanks for the follow-up question!

  • Great examples, brands better be on G+, going to be a huge SEO tool.

  • Tim Jordan

    Still plenty of time to become a google + expert. Lord knows we need them know. There is one of the biggest hiring booms now going on and it’s in the social media/ development front.

    Great article.

  • One simple thing that did work pretty well for me was to just post my Google+ profile on my Facebook status, it brought in a few new followers instantly.

  • The recent search updates have certainly provided some additional motivation to start using Google+. It will be really interesting to see how this continues to influence search results.

  • Great article on G+. Not sure if I’m drinkin @chrisbrogan ‘s kool-aid yet on this…but I definitely see the voice calls and Google Music capabilities as a strong argument for G+ over FB. What do u think?

  • Google+ underscores yet another reason why mastering communication is really the only long term viable skill worth mastering. Everything else is technology, which can be outsourced or goes obsolete faster than one can achieve mastery. 

  • John Kelly

    If Google owns it, I’m all in. I recently added a feed from my G+ business page to my blog and like Ryan said, search results out me up top right away. Can’t beat that.

  • Do you have examples of small businesses doing well on Google+?

  • Great!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Love the info! I’m liking G+ more and more each day I use it.

  • Danny Ayers

    Sorry, I’m a bit confused: G+ doesn’t allow promotions, but the Android page has a big promotion..?

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  • Ann Brauer

    Yes, I too have started playing with Google+ after an article saying that it was gaining momentum.  As an artist I like how clean the images look.The problem I have is how to avoid cross posting the same info every place.  And of course it is hard to find the time to learn the intricacies of a new format.

  • I really don’t like Google+ but of course I bit the bullet and signed up a while back. Can’t offer social media and blogging tips without following the latest trends, I suppose. 🙂

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  • NASA: everybody is curious about the universe.
    Funny pictures & videos: The Simpson’s and Family guy videos.. Don’t get me started.
    Android: 160K users? I think it’s a really low number according to the total devices activated each month! And as Danny says: they launched 2 big promotions and according to their policy they don’t allow promotions…
    I don’t think that Google+ is a game changer in the social networks ecosystem, and it seems like a promoted post…

    They are working really hard on new stuff, that’s great, but who cares about that new stuff? Maybe they are way a head of what the user wants and needs, maybe that’s the reason why most of G+ users are techy guys…

    I believe that integration is the name of the game, instead of producing substitutes.

    My 2 cents.

  • lisapeyton

    Thanks for the feedback Jordan. I feel very fortunate to have escaped the recession woes others are experiencing. I work with a Digital Marketing Strategies professional program and our students are offered jobs before they complete the program!

  • lisapeyton

    Absolutely Andrea! I think Google will continue to make improvements and eventually pull in even more Facebook users.

  • lisapeyton


  • lisapeyton

    Scott, great question! Currently small businesses might not see the benefit of Google+ but Google will soon be adding the ability to offer local customers check-in deals via Google Places. I think this feature will make Google+ very appealing to small business owners who already know the value of optimizing their Google Places listings. Anyone got examples of a small biz killing it on G+?

  • Google + has very obviously targeted a more sophisticated user from Day 1.  For my money, it is most definitely here to stay.  I’m also confident that it will challenge FB for supremacy in the over 30’s market very quickly – especially men.

    I think the ‘technology’ take-up supports my argument.  As increasing numbers of businesses recognize the Google + opportunity, the momentum will become unstoppable.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing that all of us have in abundance.  Early adopters have foresight.  Not infallible foresight but foresight none-the-less.  Are you looking forward or will you be looking back months from now saying ‘I should have’?

    David Wilks

  • lisapeyton

    Thanks so much for the candid feedback Gabo, I love a good debate! While
    it’s true that the Android promotion did elicit quite a bit of
    engagement, the other pages got the same response without using
    promotions at all. So to Elemental’s point above, I would argue
    promotions AREN’T critical.

    And as for Android’s 160K users being a ‘low number’, it’s the
    outstanding engagement rate that really sparked my interest. The Android
    Google+ fan base interacts more with that brand than comparable
    Facebook pages that have double that number of followers. As I assert in
    the my article, it’s not the SIZE of the community buy how engaged they
    are that is a more accurate gauge of success.

    And YES, I’m sure that Google+ is full of techy, early-adopter types
    (like myself) but our needs and wants will EVENTUALLY go mainstream. 😉

  • Jane

    Is there no-one else, other than Michael Hill, who finds it rather disturbing that Google might get to control both Search and Social with Search Plus Your World?

    Take a look at this Facebook post by Sitesell founder, Ken Evoy, to read why this isn’t a good thing:

  • Guest

    Promotions aren’t critical; conversations, engagement, relationships et al are.  Otherwise, consumers of that content could become trained to know and experience little else and that’s not healthy. My view is that initially, promotions may be useful to Google+, rather than just the aforementioned to highlight what it is doing and for it to be more appealing to brand managers, ans similar.  Are you experiencing that Facebook is allowing promotions, because we aren’t unless its guidelines are adhered to? TG^

  • Thank you
    for good and encouraging post. It is obvious that Google+ is a platform to

    platform is still new, do not forget this! And, even top Google+ pages reviewed
    in this article, namely Android, NASA and Funny Pictures & Videos, are not
    perfect. Please, look at their pages URL. These URLs are … not customized to their brands! There are just random numbers.


    I invite
    everybody to look again, here on,  at the article

    Marketing Tips From the Pros’, specifically on the tip 1: Personalize your page

  • Great Tip Ryan ! Yes it is enough & the early we take a step , the better , what d u say ?

  • Is it @matt ?

  • One question to you , Lisa : How about trying out Hangouts with 25 odd people , to offer simple presentations instead of costly go2webinar ?

  • I have a google + page but haven’t done much with it.  Guess I’ll have to work on that!

  • Chasabb

    Lisa, Thanks for this well written, informative article. I’m looking forward to Google+ having wider usage and popularity. Also, please consider a friendly reminder that words are important. You may find it informative to look up the meaning of the phrase “begs the question.” 

  • Thanks Lisa…

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that G+ is a total waste and that they should drop the project (although they did with Buzz)… The way I see it is the following:

    – Why would you want to take users out from the platforms they are already using?

    I’m a tech guy (and proud of it haha) and recognize that the capabilities of G+ exceed Facebook possibilities. But, users like to spend time on Facebook, not on Google+ and users have learned over the years how to use Facebook, some users don’t like to spend time figuring out how this new platform works, considering that the one they are using fulfills their needs…

    I also agree that an engaged audience has more value than tons of likes (maybe 90% of your likers didn’t came back) but also the branded G+ pages that you evaluated are highly aligned to the techy users interests. I would like to see how Unilever, Coke or AA fans behave in G+ and if the engagement metrics are way much better than the ones on other social sites or strategies.

    Finally, when I say “the name of the game is integration” I mean why wouldn’t I (if I was about to create a social platform) create a link between my platform and Facebook’s to drive users on a seamless way?


  • Wordsright

    I’m VERY leery. What’ll the ‘net be like in 5 years, should Google end up monopolizing both search and the social aspects of the web? Yes, these few G+ pages are effective. But Google is ranking ALL G+ pages, including the useless G+ pages, above excellent content. Right now. You think that’ll change in 5 years? What a brazen violation of legitimate search principles. Nope, I’ll stick with Facebook.

  • From an information standpoint, I find Google+ very nice to get lots of information (almost too much). From the standpoint of trying to spread word on my web properties including a smartphone app, I find it as challenging as any social media platform – getting a relevant and targeted audience is a huge task which takes time and/or money. I have gotten a few backlinks from Google+ and I hope that I will get more visibility in SERP over time.

  • Guest

    I’m not sold yet. Google+ is pushing this so hard down our throats.There is evidence that they are no longer showing the “most relevant” results in favor of Google+ results, which appear to be far from relevant. I haven’t created a personal or business profile; I’m not convinced. And until I am, I won’t recommend it to my clients.

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  • Rps

    I am on the band wagon, G+ it’s another tool for getting your business out, totally different feel to FB but it is straight forward enough to navigate. Great article  Lisa.

  • I think while articles like this are hugely helpful (kudos, Lisa!), put simply, your mileage may vary.

    Every single business has a completely different raison d’etre, mission, vision and values. Every business owner has a different passion and reason for doing business.

    But the one thing that unites any business that gives a damn about smart social marketing is passion.

    No surprise the six Ps of smart social marketing are planning, patience, passion, personality and prowess.

    Be yourself – transparent, relevant and legitimate – and be the expert. And share everything. Those are the tenets of smart social marketing success.

  • Another social network that borrows features from other social networks and doesn’t have any kind of emerging culture, grass roots support and by looking at the owners own data (Google Insights) hasn’t been able to gather any kind of sustained interest despite getting the best real estate on the internet is going to ‘CHANGE EVERYTHING?”. I think not.

    Even Instagram, an app available only on iPhone, is getting more interest than Google+.

    Google’s intentions with Google+ are to improve it’s search offering. Steve Job’s intention with Apple was to ‘put a dink in the universe’. 

    Everything on your key insights is achievable easier somewhere else. Google have a number of failed and abandoned social networks in their portfolio. Why is this going to be any different?


    Even Instagram, an app available only on iPhones, is getting more interest than Google+.

  • You can now create your own video message with your web cam and share it, all within Google+. Not borrowing from other social networks as previously mentioned..

  • We totally agree that Google+ can’t be ignored. (In fact, that was the headline of our blog post this week! What remains to be seen is whether the network will be adopted on a wider level by the average user, not just brands and companies who are aware of the impact participation has on their SEO.

  • Bob

    I believe the dye is cast. G+ is Google and will last as long as Google. At this time, it seems farfetched that Google or Facebook will go the the way of Yahoo but who can trust second generation management.

  • Frank Motola

    Why do you think Google+ has not yet embraced the idea or usernames or personalized url’s? Business pages deserve to be branded. This will need to happen sooner or later and the longer they wait the more of a mess it will be. Having a warm and fuzzy url lik for my personal page doesn’t do much for me.

    Android even has this for a url.
    Why not:

  • They should see the benefit when they realize the SEO effect of Google+. I like Google+ better than any other social media so far.

  • I can’t find the article you are referencing with that URL. Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee yet, but I’ve  tried 3 times. Can you give a more specific URL?

    Additionally. I’ve found it to be difficult to get fan pages started as you can’t add people to a fan page. Any comments on that?

  • Sorry, I
    messed up a bit in my post 🙂

    This is the
    link to the article I mentioned:


    Please, take a look at tip #1
    About fan pages. Right
    now I am still in ‘learning curve’ with Google+. I am not ready to produce
    right answer.

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  • George

    Confused here to. Google has prohibited the use of contests or promotions on its business pages, unless you’re Google I guess. And the other contest for Funny Pictures & Videos?

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  • Not everyone actually agrees that it should happen. Personally though, I have definitely seen Facebook updates appearing in the same way for some of our clients recently.

  • Leslie

    The Key Insights mentioned seem to be basic truths for any type of social media for brands. Doesn’t seem to be specific to Google +.

  • Lisa,
    You might also check out Bad Astronomer (aka Philip Plait). He is often holding Hangouts for looking at the stars, etc. He cutely names his Q&A sessions as “Q&BA’s” —

  • You might also look at Philip Plait aka Bad Astronomer. He holds really cool Hangouts (which I need to attend):

  • amportfolio

    I honestly think if Google is going to “reward” G+ users with higher rankings on the search engine, then it will simply drive everyone to get a G+ page. The problem then becomes with so many having pages, the high rankings will fall bak on where it was. Big names and those who paid money for placement. Not to mention this favoritism will drive some to competitors like Bing simply because they want other results.

    I’m on G+, but all I see are loads of people adding me whom I don’t know. I don’t believe I’m some great influence, but more they’re adding me hoping I’ll add them back so then I can be bombarded with their postings.

    I’m not convinced that G+ is “here to stay”. MySpace and Facebook did not have to advertise to get the members they have or had. G+ has to resort to this, and even then I’m not seeing people I know on Facebook, average people, running over to Google+. I’ll be a naysayer and simply believe we’ll see tech blogs writing about the demise of G+ in a year.

  • Assuming the sixth P might be Persistence?

  • Lisa, I might add that you can add your fb followers to google + as well as share content via circles.. but the power of it is that you can share to those not in google+ via email. I wrote an article about google+. What is Google+ And How Do I Connect With Others There?

  • No one is trying to sell you Tony. The only one that can do that is you, testing, and testing thoroughly if your business converts on Google+. And I am not talking about making a few posts, I am talking about a real effort, with some informed skills, track and test you performance and see with happens.

    I wasn’t sold on iPhone apps going anywhere in 2006. I bet on mobile browsers. My mistake was not buying an iPhone and testing it.

    Paul Myers told me Kindle was the publishing platform of the future. IN 2008! I was too cheap to buy IBSN numbers (had to have them back then) and test it out. That worked out well huh?

    Right now, your competition is not on Google+, that is the one point that most don’t get, you are unopposed over there. My competition is top Internet Marketers with giant email lists.

    Right now they are beating on everyone’s door trying to sell the the latest “How To Publish On Kindle” info product. See how it is a 3 year trend cycle? But if you wait for the trend to come, you are just a lost voice in the crowd begging to be heard.

    Meanwhile, I am not missing out on the next big thing like I did above. When you take a deep look at how Hangouts work, that usually opens your eyes, but you have to get off the fence and take action now. OR Well I guess there will be another iPhone or Kindle, or Google+…. in a few years…. maybe….

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  • Thank you!

  • Thanks for this! I just tricked out our company google+ page. I especially like the way the ‘recommended links’ section came out. Automatic icons make it look clean and minimizes the amount of words.

    Let me know what you think! Now we just need people to add us to their circles…

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  • Carsmosis

    All I this is great, but why are they so slow (they say selective) in rolling out their API? It would only help increase the number of people, you know, actually using it.

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  • Kris

    If you aren’t allowed to use G+ for promotions, then how did Android get to use theirs for the 10 cent app promotion? Color me confused…

  • Agree, and Funny Pictures and Videos is viral!