Google+ For Businesses and Organizations

Google+ for Businesses and Organizations

Google+ announced on 7th of November 2011 the immediate availability of Google+ Pages, a feature enabling businesses and organizations to create their own “space” on the Google+ network. The name of this feature has the potential to create some confusion among those that remember the now-defunct Google Page Creator, but for most people it won’t be an issue as they probably didn’t hear about it in the first place.

Since the initial launch of the service on 28th of June 2011, the ability of organizations to create their own space on the network has been a saga for corporations and social media professionals as they initially created company accounts only to be disabled by the Google Policy team (by stating that those accounts are forbidden in the initial phase of the service). Now anyone can create a page in the name of his organization, without restrictions.

In connection with this launch Google announced Direct Connect – a feature due to which brand names entered in search queries with the + sign as a prefix will return the Google+ Pages associated with the respective terms. This is currently working only in a limited number of instances but the company plans to make it more universal in the near future.

By enabling organizations to connect with their followers, Google+ addressed one of the service’s main missing features. Its continued success now largely depends on the array of benefits that both organizations and individual users will perceive once they’re connected via their favorite pages. For small business owners, this has the potential to become their first online presence by replacing the need for a website, especially if Google achieves seemingly integration of the feature with Google Maps, Google Sites and its other related services.

Yola – Interactive Site Builder

Yola - Site Creator

Yola allows non-technical people to easily create a professional looking site from within the browser by using an intuitive builder interface. It offers hundreds of site templates, customizable design, online forms and Google Maps integration. Yola also features blog tools, e-commerce support and it acts as a domain registrar.

The site consistently receives hundreds of thousands of visitors on a monthly basis. According to, it is ranked in the top 5’000 sites world-wide.

In addition to the freemium model, Yola offers paid pricing plans with additional features. Yola Silver costs $99.95 per year and offers a custom domain name with private registration as well as additional traffic statistics; Yola Premier costs $499.95 and gives users the ability to have a one-on-one consultation with a professional in order to create a unique 5-page website design that can be expand as needed.

The service was initially called SynthaSite and it was founded by Vinny Lingham in March 2007. It raised $5 million financing in November 2007 from Columbus Venture Capital. An additional $20 millions was raised in Series B funding in February 2009. Shortly thereafter, the company was renamed to Yola (March 26, 2009); Lingham declared that they needed a name which is easy to pronounce and resonates well no matter the language.

Weebly – Create Powerful Websites


Weebly allows users to create a free website using a powerful and intuitive set of online tools. Their builder includes a drag-and-drop interface, hundreds of professional themes, easy blogging, lots of multimedia features as well as fast and helpful support.

Although traditionally their service has been free of charge, in June 2008 Weebly added the paid pricing plans, allowing the creation of password-protected pages and larger file size limits. shows that the site has been visited in the last year by at least 2 million unique visitors each month. The site is ranked by Alexa in the top 500 sites of the world.

The site has been created by David Rusenko, Chris Fanini and Dan Veltri, who met during their studies for an undergraduate degree at The Pennsylvania State University. The company received its initial funding from Ycombinator, a micro-seed funding organization for entrepreneurs.

Zoho – Business Productivity Tools


Zoho is a productivity suite that offers online collaborative apps similar to the traditional Microsoft Office programs; due to this, Zoho is often seen as a Google Apps competitor. Recently the company expanded its suite to include administration tools for invoicing, recruitment and user support, aimed at increasing productivity for small business owners.

Zoho receives hundreds of thousands of visitors to its website every month, according to Quantcast. The site offers more than 25 apps designed for online collaboration and business productivity, such as Chat, Docs, Meetings, Wiki, BugTracker, CRM, Invoice, Recruits, Reports, Calendar or Writer. The company said that it had registered more than 5 million user accounts until now.

Zoho has been founded in 1996; currently it is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, USA. The key person behind Zoho’s success is its founder and CEO, Sridhar Vembu. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras but he also holds a PhD. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. Sridhar became famous for its unique staffing practices at Zoho: he created ZOHO University, a two-year training program for disadvantaged Indian high school graduates, with a strong focus on technical competence; graduates of this program make up for 10% of the company’s workforce.

Zoho did not receive any external capital or bank loans. Sridhar insisted on the company’s independence by following a boot-strap model where the company’s profits are used to grow the service organically. Acquisition offers from external investors, including Marc Benioff from, have been refused consistently despite their aggressive bidding.

Xtranormal – Online Movie Maker


Xtranormal is a site that allows users to create short animation videos based on a text script. The text can be annotated with additional information, such as a background scene, custom appearance details for the involved characters or emoticons which reflect character gestures.

Xtranormal allows users to create 3D scenes via a drag and drop interface. There are hundreds of actor models to choose from, as well as different backgrounds, lightning configurations and camera setups.

The company offers both downloadable software products as well as a web-based video creation service. Until 2011 it claims to have created over 10 million videos, and the counter keeps going. The site managed to attract a strong audience with hundreds of thousands of visitors in each of the last 12 months.

Xtranormal was funded in 2006 having Richard Szalwinski as one of the initial co-founders and CEO. He left the company in 2010 and Graham Sharp took over as the new CEO. The company currently has 30 employees according to CrunchBase.

Picnik – Online Photo Editing

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