Chicago gets on Google Plus, follows world in largely ignoring it

November 14, 2011

Last week, Google finally launched brand pages for businesses wanting to market on Google+, the company's latest effort in social networking.

In that time, companies and media outlets rushed to lay claim to their space, hoping to increase audience and brand appeal — or to prevent Web squatters from creating fake brand pages in their name.  And in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel made news for launching the first mayoral Google+ page.

Along the way, there have been some initial gripes and raves about the rollout, including:

Here in the City Room, the Web staff has been dutifully tasked with having to populate and curate our fledgling WBEZ plus page. Like all media outlets —or anyone with a computer and an active digital life — these days, it's one of many social media channels that have to be meticulously maintained. See generally, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare to name a few.

In that spirit we take a look at how the big names in Chicago stacked up (if at all). It should be noted, that as of now, the only way to verify if something is "officially" a page is a checkmark next to the name of the page. The authentication/verification process is still a little murky.

An initial look appears to make Chicago a microcosm for Google+ at large, with many of the city's big names holding off, much like the general public, for the time being. 

This could mean that organizations have not figured out the labyrinth-like help guide to set up a page — or just don't care. Indeed, on some of the pages created, many organizations have opted to create a page with little more than a logo and a link to their website.

Here's our quick look at who's-doing-what so far:


  • Cubs: Modest page with a handful of photos posted. It is winter after all. (verified)
  • White Sox: Like the Cubs, populated only with a handful of photos. (verified)
  • Blackhawks: There are currently two Chicago Blackhawks pages. (neither verified)
  • Fire: No photos or posts. (not verified)
  • Bulls: A handful of photos and links were posted, but the about section is curiously blank (not verified)
  • Bears: Where are they?! There are only pages for Bears fans and for merchandise.



  • Chicago Tribune: Has started posting multiple stories. (not verified)
  • Chicago Sun-Times: Has posted several stories and garnered several followers. (not verified)
  • Chicagoist: They've reserved a page, but haven't posted links yet. (not verified)
  • RedEyeChicago: Has posted a handful of links and filled out its about section. (not verified)
  • Gapers Block: Has a pretty robust following and has posted several links already (not verified)
  • ABC7, CBS 2, Fox 32, WGN and CLTV are all M.I.A.
  • NBC5: Can probably start broadcasts with "the only Chicago TV station on Google +..." (not verified)



  • Steppenwolf Theater: M.I.A.
  • Goodman Theatre: M.I.A.
  • Chicago Theatre: M.I.A.
  • Art Institute: M.I.A.
  • Chicago History Museum: Has posted several links and a handful of photos. (not verified)
  • Museum of Science and Industry: Reserved their page, posted basic information and has posted no links. (not verified)



  • Vienna Beef: M.I.A.
  • Gonnella Bread: M.I.A.
  • Giordano's: M.I.A.
  • Gino's East Pizza: Has posted a modest page, complete with QR code.
  • Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea: The Chicago-based purveyors of java have a pretty robust page, much like their coffee.


Chicago-area businesses:

  • Boeing: M.I.A.
  • Groupon: There are six Groupon pages currently showing in results, neither are verified, and one seems to have been removed.
  • McDonalds: Has reserved their space, but is sharing nothing. (verified)
  • Walgreens: Has created a clean corporate page, with several promotional links. (not verified)
  • United Airlines: M.I.A.
  • CME: Has firmly planted their roots in Google +, which has yet to be seen for the state of Illinois. (not verified)
  • Motorola Mobility: Has created an attractive page with split photos, but has shared little about its products and news articles. (Not verified)



  • Mayor's office: Some snazzy use of Photoshop slices shows Rahm in front of an "L" train; touts various mayoral appearances. (Not verified! Watch out for @MayorEmanuel!)
  • Illinois Government/Governor: M.I.A.
  • Cook County: M.I.A.