The program will grant six companies early access to the Google+ API for the specific purpose of letting business owners manage their Pages. Google’s six launch partners include Hootsuite, Buddy Media, Context Optional, Hearsay Social, Involver and Vitrue.
“These companies will offer a subset of their clients the ability to manage Circles, publish to Google+, and monitor usage,” Google+ Pages Product Manager Sara McKinley said in a blog post.
While the integrations with Google+ vary, the functionality seems extensive at first glance. Hootsuite, which also announced it was a launch partner, specifically mentions that it supports sharing to different Circles, searching public Google+ posts, viewing recent user activity and managing Circle membership. The launch partners are also offering analytics for tracking the performance of an individual Google+ Page.
Google needed to get third-party apps involved in Google+ Pages quickly. Currently Google doesn’t support direct management of a Google+ Page through multiple accounts, making third-party apps like Involver and Hearsay Social the best option for organizations to manage their Google+ accounts. Hopefully it won’t be long until Google opens up this functionality for managing personal Google+ accounts.