Google+ has been opened up for everyone to join after nearly three months of closed testing. Alongside, its full fledged public launch, Google has incorporated several new features in the social networking site; including an improved and expanded Hangout video chat feature. Vice Gundotra – senior vice president of engineering at Google wrote in a blog post, 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 sign-ups. The improved Hangout feature allows Google+ users to video-chat via their mobile phones as well. However, the feature currently only supports Android 2.3+ devices. Google says it will soon update the feature to support iOS devices. In addition, Google+ has added a number of features in Hangout, including screen sharing, Google Docs, sketch pads and Named Hangouts.
Google has also rolled out the Hangouts ‘On Air’ feature, which enables Google+ users to publicly broadcast their videos. Once you’re ‘On Air’ up to nice others can join your hangout. And anyone can watch you live broadcast. The One Air facility is initially available to a limited number of broadcasters, but any Google+ user can watch the videos. In fact, we’ve hosted our very first On Air hangout with will.i.am on Sept, 21.
Google has added new search functionality to its social network. Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box and it will return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web. If you’re into photography, for example, then you’ll see other enthusiasts and lots of great images. If you care more about cooking, then you’ll see other chefs and food from around the globe. To further promote its new social networking site, Google has added the You+ button to its search home page, at last we should add. Google+ shot tot popularity soon after it was launched in late June, 2011.
In spite of being launched with only a limited number of users, it has become one of the fastest growing websites of late. If you took a look at its popularity (25+ million users so far), you’d think that Google had finally made it to the social networking segment with a product which can compete with Social Network Giant Facebook. However, Google+ is still trailing Facebook and Twitter, which have 750+ million and 100+ million users respectively. Only time will tell if the search giant will be able to catch up with those numbers.