Google has opened up its popular social network site Google+ to the public after 90 days of limited field-testing.
“For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal. We’re nowhere near done, but with the improvements we’ve made so far we’re ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open signups. This way anyone can visit Google+, join the project and connect with the people they care about,” Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering of Google wrote Tuesday in a post.
Google celebrated the graduation of Google+ by launching several new features for the social network, including search and improved Hangouts. Any user 18 and over can join Google+ now without any invitation. This means Internet users now have an alternative network to Facebook for information sharing among friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers.
Before opening up its service to the masses, Google had made 91 features, including a handful of improvements to Hangouts and Search. As a big gift to the users, Hangouts now can be used on mobile devices.
“We think Hangouts should keep pace with how you socialize in the real-world, so today we’re launching it on the one device that's always by your side: your mobile phone,” Gundotra wrote. Although this feature now is just available to Android 2.3+ devices, Google promised that soon iPhone and iPod users would be able to enjoy the new Hangouts feature as well.
Another notable breakthrough is the more powerful Search function. The giant search engine provider has made Google+ search box accessible to return results that include content from both the social network and the Web.
“If you’re into photography, for example, then you’ll see other enthusiasts and lots of great pictures. If you care more about cooking, then you’ll see other chefs and food from around the globe. In all cases, Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news,” Gundotra described.
With Google+ now available to everyone, it is believed that there will be a massive onrush of users who will want to join the social network. Many analysts believe that Google+ will be a formidable competitor to the world’s largest social network Facebook.