Google+ goes public and adds slew of new features

Google+ has scrapped the invite system and is now open to everyone.

It remains in beta but anyone can sign up for the social network. In a blog post Google talks about making 91 improvements to Google+ in 90 days and the 100th improvement is going public, with 92 to 99 also being released today.

New features include “Hangouts on your phone,” which Apple users will find reminiscent of FaceTime with a group-friendly focus.

In life we connect with others in all sorts of places, at all different times. And the connections you make unexpectedly are often the ones you remember the most. 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. To get started, simply find an active hangout in the Stream, and tap “Join.”

Google+ has also added search, which makes sense given that Google is the world’s most used search engine.

You’ve been asking for it, and we’ve been busy building it, so today we’re bringing Google’s search expertise to Google+. Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web.

Google+ experienced truly insane growth, but usage seemed to stutter after reaching an early peak. It will be interesting to observe how going public changes user growth and usage habits.

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