Google has rolled out a new feature called Direct Connect, which makes it dead simple for users to find and follow brands on Google+ via Google Search.
Whenever a user wants to find a brand on Google+, all they have to do is type “+” in Google Search, followed by the brand or business they want to follow. So if a user wants to follow Toyota, they would simply type “+Toyota” in the Google Search box. This brings up a direct link to the Toyota Google+ Page that appears directly under the search box. Hitting enter after typing in “+Toyota” will also take a user directly to Toyota’s page.
Direct Connect changes the function of the “+” operator in Google Search. In the past, the operator made it so that any word with the plus sign before it was required in all search results (much like what putting quotations around a word or phrase accomplishes). However, Google retired that operator last month, likely in anticipation of the launch of Direct Connect.
Direct Connect gives Google+ Brand pages a leg up on Facebook Pages, Twitter profiles and even brand websites. The link appears just under the search box, so it essentially acts like a search result above the search engine page. It’s also the only operator that takes users directly out of Google Search and to another website.
Google is testing Direct Connect with its properties and a limited set of partners (+Google, +Toyota, +YouTube, etc.) but says it will roll out the feature to other brands in the near future.