Google today launched a small but nifty new feature for its Gmail people widget that allows brands and businesses to highlight their Google+ profiles and recent Google+ posts right in their customers’ inboxes.
Once they have connected their Google+ accounts and email addresses, Gmail users will be able to easily follow these brands’ page right from within Gmail and without the need to go to Google+, just like they can already do with all of their regular email contacts. The people widget will also highlight the brands’ latest Google+ posts.
This, Google says, will make it easier for customers follow a brands’ or business’ Google+ page help them find and engage with the company’s content. It’s worth noting that this also means a brands Google+ logo will prominently appear in the Gmail sidebar, which will definitely draw a few more eyeballs to the follow button.
Getting started with this isn’t hard, but it’s not trivial either. A business must have a website verified Google+ page and all emails must then come from this domain. The emails also have to be signed with DKIM or SPF – two ways to prevent spam and phishing attempts – and the organization must send at least 1,000 emails a week from its domain (it’s not clear how Google tracks this, by the way).
Google also notes that the follow button will only appear for brands that have recent Google+ posts.
It’s worth noting that Google has also recently added a few more features to Gmail that make the inbox a bit more interactive. At I/O, for example, the company announced that email senders can now include small snippets of code to their emails to add extra functionality like one-click RSVPs to their messages.