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Social networking site Google+ now open to public

While making Google+ public, the search engine giant Google rolled out more than a dozen new features to its social networking service, many of them aimed at mobile phone users.

BT Online Bureau | September 21, 2011 | Updated 16:00 IST

Taking on Facebook, Google Inc on Tuesday threw open its recently launched social networking service, 'Google Plus', to everyone.

With this anyone can now sign up for Google Plus and connect with people they care about. Earlier, the service, which was launched in June, was available only through invitation as part of trial runs.

Google+ sees 20 mn visits in 3 weeks

"This way anyone can visit, join the project and connect with the people they care about," Google Senior Vice-President of Engineering Vic Gundotra said on the company's official blog on Tuesday.

"For the past 12 weeks, we have been in field trials...

We are nowhere near done, but with the improvements we have made so far, we are ready to move from field trials to beta and introduce our 100th feature: open sign-up.

'Google Plus' was launched by Google in an effort to garner a share of the lucrative social networking space that has so far been dominated by Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook, which has about 750 million users worldwide.

MUST READ: The Indian face behind Google Plus

The company also announced several new and improved features in the service's 'Hangout' video feature and said it has applied some of its search magic to the network as well.

Google Plus's 'Hangout' conferencing feature, which lets users video chat with multiple people at a time, will now be available on all phones running on Google's Android operating system -- more specifically, users that own smartphones with front-facing cameras.

The Hangout feature currently works with phones running Version 2.3 (Gingerbread) of Google's Android system. The company also said support for Apple devices will be made available soon.

Additionally, Google is also introducing "Hangouts on Air", which allows a user to make public broadcasts, as well as allows users to view broadcasts as spectators.

The search function, now accessible from the Google+ search box, will return results that include content from the social network and the web.

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