Google Copies Facebook Badges and Icons Pixel for Pixel

Now that Google+ pages are out, Google is promoting its Google+ badges and icons for "growing an audience" from any site without having to leave it. These badges, which come in two sizes and the icons in three, are an exact copy of Facebook's badges -- and Google does not care.

Facebook copied 90% of what Google+ has done. These include circles (Facebook's improved "friend lists"), hangouts (integration with Skype isn't nearly as robust, however), larger photos, and the ability to take game notifications out of your stream.

Google is now doing to Facebook what Facebook has done to everyone else in the social space. For example, Facebook added status updates in 2006 (Twitter), chat in 2008 (MySpace), Connect in 2008 (MySpace), @replies in 2009 (Twitter) and pages for organizations in 2009 (MySpace).

In September, Facebook copied two big Twitter staples with its news ticker and the "subscription" feature for following people you don't know personally.

As for the new Google+ badges, they are only available to the Google+ platform preview group -- luckily, that group is not as exclusive as it sounds. You can sign up here with a Gmail or Google Apps address (both worked for us).

Once you're in, go to the configuration tool, type in the name of your Google+ page, and choose from the standard badge, small badge or the small, medium or large icon [large icon shown below ]. You can also customize your badge. The code for your badge or icon is at the bottom of the configuration tool page.

The big benefit of adding a page, as Google points out: you'll qualify for Google+ Direct Connect, which allows people to find and follow your page by using "+" in front of your organization name when they search.