Google+ Bonanza: Beta Now Available to Public, Hangouts on Android Phones and Finally Search


After nearly 90 days of field testing, Google has opened its Google+ social network to the public.

Google+ launched June 28 with invite-only registration. Since that time, Google has made 91 improvements -- more than one per day.

The official beta will roll out worldwide over the next few days Vic Gundotra, Google senior vice president of engineering, wrote on the Google blog.

Today's big product news: Google+ Hangouts are available on Android 2.3+ phones with front-facing cameras (iOS coming soon) and Google+ members can broadcast and record their Hangouts session with the new "On Air" function. Currently, the "On Air" function is limited to a small number of broadcasters, but any Google+ member can watch. will host the first "On Air" session, set for tomorrow night.

Additionally, Google has added more features to Hangouts including the ability to name your hangout,  share your screen, draw with a sketchpad and access Google Docs.

Developers will be happy to know that the Hangouts API is also out. Last week Google released the Google+ API for public data [ see our story ].

The search function in Google+ has also received an update to search for relevant posts, as well as content from the web -- not just people.

UPDATE: "Every week since we introduced the Google+ project on June 28, we have made plenty of improvements to the product -- on average between 8-9 per week," a Google spokesperson told LAUNCH. "This week, marks the 100th improvement. Now seemed like a good milestone to celebrate the many innovations we’ve introduced by opening the service to subscribers and showing some new features of Hangouts - one of the most popular Google+ products."



Hangouts "On Air" allow any Google+ member to tune in and watch a hangout. Google is only unveiling this feature to a few members at this point and will host the first session on Wednesday, Sept. 21. 

Google Hangout have also added a screen sharing function and sketchpad. 

While in Hangouts Google+ users will also be able to share Google Docs and even name their Hangout. 


Vic Gundotra
Twitter: @VicGundotra