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Google+: 'Angry Birds', The Muppets, Burberry launch first brand pages

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Google+ screenshot
Google has launched a new service allowing companies and brands to set up their own pages on its Google+ social network, intensifying competition with rival Facebook.

The search engine giant said that Google+ Pages will "give life to everything we find in the real world", and help companies and organisations to better engage with their audience.

Google will not charge brands to use the service and it will not place adverts on the pages.

Fashion brand Burberry, Barcelona Football Club, Rovi's Angry Birds game, WWE and The Muppets are among the brands to use the service at launch.

The service will challenge Facebook, which already enables companies to launch their own pages for marketing and engagement with consumers.

However, Google+'s 40m subscribers since its launch in September still lags far behind Facebook's 800m-plus global user base.

Google says that Pages will differentiate itself from the competition by enabling companies to benefit from adding a "+1" link to their search results or marketing campaigns.

This will enable them to more effectively monitor how many people are clicking through to their Google+ page and from where they are visiting. However, Google said that it will not pass on individual IP addresses, or any other personal data to companies or brands.

Companies can add 'circles' to their pages to "create lasting bonds" with fans and consumers, as well as set up video chats via the Hangouts service.

Google's senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post: "With Google+, we strive to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software.

"[The] initial launch of Google+ Pages brings us a little bit closer, but we've still got lots of improvements planned, and miles to go before we sleep. So stay tuned."

> Google+ attracts 3.4 billion photo uploads in 100 days

Watch a video introducing Google+ Pages below:

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