Google+ the search engine giant’s answer to challenge Facebook’s social media hegemony is finally here.

Google has made no bones about its social media plans. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaking at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2010 had then described its social venture as a layer that sits upon other Google products rather than a standalone product.

It was earlier rumored that Google’s social media offering will be called Google Me.

However, the biggest cue that Google gave about it social media plans was the number of social media related companies it acquired in 2010. Google acquired social gaming company Slide, virtual currency site Jambool, Angstro - a search tool to collate real-time information about friends and, a virtual search engine. Google also acquired PostRank – a social media analytics which measures “social engagement” and fflick – a website that pooled movie reviews from social sites like Twitter.

Google had also secretly invested about $100 to $200 million in the social gaming venture Zynga - the group behind famous Facebook game Farmville.

Google+ Project is an integration of all these acquisitions even though social games are yet to be seen on Google+. Other features include huddle, hangouts and sparks.

Google+ brings features like circles which allow users to group their friends around various groups.

Here are some videos of these features posted on Google blog: