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Google hastens Google+ corporate account launch

With "thousands upon thousands" of businesses expressing interest in Google+ accounts, the company is speeding up the launch schedule.

Google+ and Ford logos
Ford looks to be an early member of Google's test of Google+ corporate accounts

Google is accelerating a test of corporate accounts on Google+ after "thousands upon thousands" of businesses applied for a place in the program, a Google executive said.

The company plans next week to choose who'll get into the test and announce their names soon afterward, Christian Oestlien, a Google product manager, said in a Google+ post last night.

But if you want your company, brand name, school, or celebrity pet to have a place on Google sooner rather than later, you'd better act fast. Google is closing down its applications form on Friday, he said.

"To the thousands upon thousands of businesses that applied to be a part: thank you!" Oestlian said. "We won't be able to accommodate everyone, but your interest has got us very focused on accelerating our development plans."

Last week, Oestlian said Google had planned to launch corporate accounts later this year. He didn't say when they'd arrive under the accelerated plan.

Corporate accounts are a big deal these days as companies try to tap into the vibrant, fast-growing world of social networking. Facebook and Twitter, the two incumbent powers in the area, both offer corporate accounts.

Every now and again, a company through luck or skill enjoys a promotional perk as a viral video blazes from friend to friend across social networks. Probably more important in the long run, though, will be customer support, friends' recommendations, and other relatively mundane interactions involving companies and consumers. Either way, a corporate presence online is necessary.

Google says Google+ isn't yet ready for corporations, though. That hasn't stopped many from trying, but Google has been deleting corporate accounts.

Some, such as Ford Motor Co. on Google+ are apparently shoo-ins for the corporate test; their corporate accounts on Google+ remain unscathed even before the test participants are announced.

Oestlian said that team members including himself and business profiles product manager Dennis Troper "will focus next week on selecting a diverse set of business partners for the test period. We will be communicating with these partners next week, and will let the world know who they are soon thereafter."

Those with a personal brand have an easier time. Among celebrities on Google+ today are Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Alyssa Milano, and 50 Cent.