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September 20, 2011

Google adds search to Google+, opens signups

Adds nine new improvements including Hangouts for phones, broadcast, extras, and APIs  

By CBR Staff Writer

Search engine company Google has opened its social networking service to all and has added new features such as search in it.

Google said in an official blog that after 12 weeks of testing, Google+ is ready for its beta release. Earlier, during its field trial, people needed an invite to join the network.

Company senior vice-president of engineering Vic Gundotra said, "For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal."

"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 signups. This way anyone can visit, join the project and connect with the people they care about," added Gundotra.

Chief rival Facebook has made several improvements since Google launched its new social networking service in June. Recently, Facebook improved its privacy settings, added "smart lists" and joined hands with Twitter to link user accounts. Co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is expected to announce a major redesign of its user accounts in the f8 conference tomorrow.

Google’s strategy seems to be reliant on its other services such as Maps, YouTube and search.

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Gundotra revealed in the blog that Google+ will borrow another feature from Google search. This time it is the popular search feature itself that will be embedded in the network. Recently, Google added +Snippets from its Maps service to the social networking service.

"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." said Gundotra.

The company hopes to leverage its search feature to increase members in the social networking service.

Gundotra said, "If you’re into photography, for example, then you’ll see other enthusiasts and lots of great pictures. If you care more about cooking, then you’ll see other chefs and food from around the globe. In all cases, Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news.

"With more than 1 billion items shared and received every day, we’re excited to see how search will connect people through their posts on Google+."

The company has released nine new improvements for its "infant" service, including the new Hangouts for phones, broadcast, ‘extras’, and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Google said, "Hangouts uses live video to bring people together, face-to-face-to-face. And from day one, the community has shaped and stretched the feature in amazing ways — from cooking classes to game shows to music concerts."

"Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras (and iOS support is coming soon). The new mobile app is rolling out to Android Market today, so you can start hanging out at any time, from just about anywhere," added the company.

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