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Follow brands on Google+ from the Gmail inbox

Google is strengthening the integration of its services with the option to follow brands on Google+ from the Gmail inbox. This seems to be intended by Google to have businesses take more interest in Google+ and expand their activities there.

The change involves the Google+ people widget, which will show up besides emails you receive from people you’re connected with on Google+:

google+people-widget-sidebar

The people widget shows a compilation of communications you’ve had in recent past with a person, and the things they shared. Both photos, emails, calendar info and documents are shown as well as the circle that they are in.

Here’s an example of Toyota USA showing how it will look in the Gmail inbox:

google+-from-the-gmail-inbox

And here’s a video showing the basics. The description:

We’re expanding the +Gmail people widget to include brands and businesses (http://goo.gl/wx2mI), making it easier for your customers to connect with you on Google+. This way: when people receive emails from your domain, they can follow your Google+ page directly from their inbox!

You can’t just put a special bit of code in your email to make this work though. There are some requirements:

– Emails you send out need to be digitally-signed (DKIM and/or SPF).
– Your Google+ page needs to be verified.

As a bonus, it’s possible to have your Google+ posts appear in the widget besides your email message. You can read more on the requirements on this Google Support page.

It seems social networks are all broadening the options to market and connect to its users from a brand point of view. Just recently, the lead generation card option was announced by Twitter. It allows a Twitter user to directly subscribe to a brand’s newsletter from a tweet with the click of a button. 

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