Google has opened its social networking site, Google+, to the public, after three months as an invite-only service. The search company has updated features for Google+, including video “hangouts," where up to 10 people can chat simultaneously, and enhanced search functions. It also announced the hangouts feature will be available on Android smartphones with front-facing cameras. Apple iOS support “is coming soon”, the company wrote on its blog.
Google launched the updated social network on Tuesday, just two days before Facebook’s annual f8 developer conference. Wired writer Scott Gilbertson says the timing of the new site seems “clearly aimed as a shot across the social network giant’s bow.” Facebook is expected to announce integration with music services such as Spotify and more features to let users share media and content, as reported in Adweek earlier this week. Reuters adds that Facebook is introducing a new "ticker" on users' home pages, with real-time notifications of what friends are doing on the service.
The Telegraph reports that Google+ has amassed over 25 million members since its limited launch in June and is expected to reach 100 million members by the end of 2011. Facebook has around 750 million active users.
You can watch Google’s new promotional video for Google+ here.