Google+ Pages for Prescription Medicines
November 17, 2011
Analyst: Dale Cooke
On November 7, 2011, Google+ launched Pages. This is the ability of companies to maintain a presence onGoogle+ analogous to brand pages on Facebook. Currently, Google+ is not making any specialaccommodations for medical product companies, but Google representatives say that new features are underdevelopment. Until then, Google+ poses a very similar regulatory risk to Facebook, and just as withFacebook, people exploring Google+ need to understand how it works to ensure their intended efforts arecompliant.The use (and limitations) of circles and hangouts are unique to Google+ and companies seeking to useGoogle+ should appreciate the nuances these features bring and make sure their plan for using Google+ takesthese features into account.
Google+ is a social networking site analogous to Facebook. The basic functionality of the two sites is verysimilar, though there are some minor differences, primarily with terminology. For example, rather thanhaving a “Wall” as in Facebook, users have a “Stream” in Google+.One key distinction is that as of today, Google+ has not made any special accommodation for companiesmaking prescription products that want to create a page. Facebook, for example, enables pages that arededicated to product discussions to be whitelisted, which prevents their pages from receiving any commentson posted content. Google+ representatives have said
that there are plans to enhance pages in ways thatpharmaceutical manufacturers, among others, might find useful for communication in a tightly regulatedindustry. As of today, no such exemptions exist. Launching a brand page on Google+ commits a company toengaging openly in full dialogue with anyone who follows the page, with the option of moderating suchdialogue only after it is posted publicly.Two features distinguished Google+ from Facebook at launch: the use of circles and the ability to createhangouts. Both features are particularly relevant to medical product companies.
This alert looks at thosefeatures in greater detail and highlights some of the key issues for companies considering a Google+presence.
Circles are the central organizing principle for connections on Google+. Every connection resides in a circle,and Google+ starts users with certain default circles for Friends, Family, and Acquaintances, but users areable to add or change whatever circles they want (co-workers, ex-coworkers, alumni, workout buddies, etc.).All interaction on Google+ is organized around your circles. Posts are always shared with a specified circle(s)