Google rolled out nine new features pertained to its social thing dubbed Google+. Per the official blog post by Google’s head of engineering Vic Gundotra, the service is no longer in limited beta. Beginning today, everyone can join the party at google.com/+ – no invitation required. Yes, Facebook’s worst nightmare comes true just three months following the service’s introduction.

Next up, Google’s search expertise comes to Google+. The big search box now returns relevant people, posts and web content. The popular Hangout feature has gotten lots of enhancements. For example, developers can now take advantage of the new Google+ Hangouts APIs to write more integrated, immersive apps. Google-created Hangout extras (still rough around the edges) include screensharing, sketchpad, Google Docs integration and named hangouts. Give it a try by clicking the “Try Hangouts with extras” link in the green room.

Even more interesting, it is now possible to broadcast a hangout for the world wide web to see. They call it Hangouts on Air and even though you can broadcast and record your session, there’s still that nagging nine-per-hangout limit. Of course, an unlimited number of people can be spectators of your live broadcast.

Another cool addition: You can join a hangout from your mobile phone, by finding an active hangout in the Stream of the Google+ app and tapping “Join”. This works on Android 2.3+ phones with front-facing cameras, but Google said iOS support is “coming soon”. The aforementioned features will be rolling out globally over the next day (not days, per usual), Google said.

Google released the Hangout API for developers as well.

Last,  but not the least, Dave Girouard, a Google Apps guy, announced on Twitter that Google+ is coming to business and education customers soon, indicating that Google+ will be rolled out to Google Apps users. “New stuff on G+ today that biz/edu will love! Working hard to bring G+ to Google Apps in the very near future!”, his tweet reads. In our opinion, this could be a game-changer in the social media landscape, probably putting Facebook on the defensive – especially when Google begins selling and promoting Google+ apps on the Apps Marketplace.

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6 Responses to “Google+ now open to everyone: Live broadcasts, hangouts on your phone, search”

  1. Martin says:

    Given that Apps (especially Apps for Education) would be immediately adopted by any number of techie teachers, who would then pass it on to their students, I think Google is missing a golden opportunity here. The longer they wait, the more likely even those of us in Google's corner are going to forget about the service and just go back to the comfortable (facebook).

  2. Brian says:

    This great! Unless you're a Google Apps user/organization. Many of the Hangout features would be great for my group, but we're stuck in the Apps ghetto. Google says that it will be available "in the very near future" but that, given their track record on announcing things coming the near future could be years if ever.

    Can anyone explain to me why this isn't available to Apps users? Why can't individual Apps admins choose to be in Google+ or not? I do not understand.

    • I agree. As we noted Apps will be coming soon according to the head of Apps.

      • richard says:

        to be honest though they said apps would be getting profiles last year and it never materialised, so I would add at-least 6-12 months to any time frame they talk about now

      • Brian says:

        Seth, I will believe that when I see it. I've been waiting for G+ on Apps since they said it would be a couple weeks. That was about 75 days ago. They said the same about Buzz but I didn't care much about that.

        Google has, for some reason that they will not share, decided that Apps users are less valuable than their other users. It's a shame and I wish it was otherwise.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Still not open for under 18s, one of the biggest demographics.