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How to create a Google Profile for a business, project or team

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  macslocum's Photo
Posted Feb 12 2010 01:15 PM

I noticed recently that TechCrunch set up a Google Profile company page. It's an interesting example of how Google's once-static Profiles are becoming much more interesting thanks to Google Buzz.

Just take a look at the calls to action on the TechCrunch profile: You can follow TechCrunch on Google Buzz, read recent articles, click through to associated websites, and view related pictures. It's reminiscent of a Facebook fan page, but it doesn't have that sense of lock-in that looms over Facebook. I'm a sucker for this kind of aggregated publishing/publicity.

I already have a personal Google Profile, but I wanted to see what it would take to create a separate Profile for a side project. Turns out, it's pretty simple.

Below you'll find the steps I took. If you see any shortcuts or have your own suggestions, please chime in through the comments.

1. Create a new Google account for your business or team. You'll need to associate an email address at this stage. This address cannot be tied to an existing Google account.

2. Check your email for a Google Account verification message. Click on the verification link.

3. Sign in to your new Google account. Click the Create a Profile link.

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Since Google Profiles are built around individuals rather than businesses or projects, you'll have to shoehorn information into some of the fields. For example, "Where I live now" could be the geographic location of your business. "What I Do" could be your tagline or motto. You can always go back and edit these fields, so don't sweat it too much.

4. Go back to your Google account (you may need to log in again). Click on the Gmail link. This is where it gets a little murky.

Do not log in to an existing Gmail account. You need to create an all-new Gmail address. Click the Create an Account button and proceed through the sign-up process.

This step probably feels wrong if you've already got a Gmail address, but here's why this is important: Buzz updates are the most interesting part of Profile pages. But Buzz is built into Gmail (for now), so an existing Gmail account will send associated Buzz updates -- all those quirky links and personal thoughts -- to your new business profile. If you don't mind the clutter, then by all means use an existing Gmail address. But my recommendation is to start with a fresh account.

5. Next, you'll be presented with the Buzz activation screen. Click the Sweet! Check out Buzz button.

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6. You'll see your Gmail inbox and the "Welcome to Buzz" screen. Click the Okay button to activate Buzz. Then, click the Connected sites link. Associate the services you want to include with your Buzz account (Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader, etc.).

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7. Visit the business/project Profile you created earlier. You should now see a Buzz tab.

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If you're interested, here's how my side project Profile came out. It's certainly a work in progress.

Some extra thoughts on external services, Buzz and Profiles

I noticed a couple interesting things while messing around with the various Buzz services.

-- Items you share through Google Reader show up very quickly through Buzz and on Profile pages. TechCrunch is using this technique to populate its Profile. The downside here is that you have to manually click the "Share" button within Google Reader. There's no automated option because Buzz only looks at Google Reader's shared page. Publicly available Reader folders or tags don't factor in.

-- I'm not 100 percent sure about this, but there appears to be a connection between Google Analytics, Buzz and Profile pages. On both my personal Google Profile and my personal Gmail/Buzz account, I can add sites I manage through Google Analytics to my list of links. That option doesn't appear in my secondary Profile/Buzz account. I even tried adding my separate account to Analytics as an administrator. That didn't make a difference.

-- There's a fairly simple way to claim a site feed and make it appear in your Google Profile and Buzz. You'll need read/write access to the site to make this work.

-- Twitter updates take a long time to appear in Buzz. For example, I sent this Tweet around 8:30 a.m. Seven hours later it still hadn't appeared in my personal Buzz updates. Tweets also seem to show up in bunches.

-- Buzz does not currently support multiple Twitter accounts. Hopefully that will change (can't see why it wouldn't), but in the interim you can still get tweets from multiple accounts to show up in Buzz. Here's how you can do it.

First, create a new Twitter account. This will be a "super" account that aggregates tweets from other Twitter accounts.

Next, go to Twitterfeed and create an account. Twitterfeed is a third-party service that links RSS feeds to Twitter.

Now you're ready for the important stuff ...

Every Twitter account has multiple RSS feeds. For our purposes, you'll want to grab your Profile feed. This only shows tweets that you send. To get this feed, log in to Twitter and click the "Profile" link. Toward the bottom of the right-hand column you'll see a link that reads: RSS feed of [username]'s tweets. Click this and copy the URL. Then, go to Twitterfeed and associate your Twitter Profile RSS feed with your "super" Twitter account.

Repeat this same process for other Twitter accounts you manage. You'll have to do this one-by-one because Twitterfeed doesn't let you group RSS feeds.

When finished, go back to Gmail/Buzz, click Connected sites and associate your "super" Twitter account. Tweets from all your Twitter accounts should now appear within Buzz and populate your Google profile page.

Note: It took around 14 hours for my first tweets to show up in Buzz. I'll be keeping an eye on that lag to see if it improves.

You can use this same technique to aggregate RSS feeds from multiple websites and post them to Buzz via Twitter. Simply copy the website RSS URLs and link them to your "super" Twitter account through Twitterfeed. Website updates will then filter through Twitterfeed, post to your super Twitter account, and (eventually) appear within Buzz.

1 Reply

 : Feb 18 2010 11:27 AM
We've created an O'Reilly Media public profile www.google.com/profiles/OReillyMedia So you can follow us too!
Marsee Henon
User Group Manager
O'Reilly Media
Sebastopol, CA