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Google Plus goes public
[September 20, 2011]

Google Plus goes public

Sep 20, 2011 (dpa - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- SAN FRANCISCO -- Google opened up its would-be Facebook rival Google Plus to the public for the first time Tuesday after the social networking platform had been in test mode with a limited audience for three months.

"For the past 12 weeks we've been in field trial, and during that time we've listened and learned a great deal," Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog posting.

"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." Google is hoping that the service will help it catch up to Facebook after falling far behind in amassing social networking users. With Facebook now boasting 750 million users and the most traffic on the web, it poses a huge threat to Google's dominance of online advertising.

Reflecting its far-reaching ambitions for Google Plus, the web search giant posted a sign up link to the service on its home page which is usually kept free of any extraneous links.

The service has received rave reviews in its first three months when it was limited to invitees only, and then later people they invited. Users especially welcomed the ability to easily sort contacts into different groups and specify which information they saw, a feature that has since been emulated on Facebook.

Another popular feature is its multi-person "hangouts" video chat service. According to social networking website Mashable, Google Plus amassed 25 million users during its initial testing phase.

Alongside the public launch, Google Tuesday also added several new features, including video hangouts on Android smartphones and the ability for users to share the content of their computer screens with whoever they are talking to. Google also announced a search feature that allows users to search Google Plus' content.

___ (c)2011 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) Visit Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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