Google+, the social network of internet giant Google, has now moved to beta phase, around 90 days after a trail version of it was launched. This means that users now no longer need an invitation to join Google+ as is the case in Facebook.
Google has also launched several new features for the social network including Search and Hangouts.
The new Hangouts feature uses live video to bring people together, face-to-face-. Explaining the new feature, Google in an official blog post said, “In life we connect with others in all sorts of places, at all different times. And the connections you make unexpectedly are often the ones you remember the most. We think Hangouts should keep pace with how you socialise in the real-world, so today we’re launching it on the one device that’s always by your side: your mobile phone. To get started, simply find an active hangout in the Stream, and tap Join.”
Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras while its iOS supported version will be launched soon. The new Google+ app is rolling out to Android Market today.
Google+ was the third attempt of the search giant at a social networking. During its launch, a lot of buzz has been created online as well as offline about how Google Plus is fresh and at the same time appears to be a mash-up of other social networks.
Other interesting features in Google Plus are Stream, Circles, Huddles and Photos. In Stream all posts that include text, images, URLs, links to videos and location are presented in a wide column in the center, which is called the Stream. It is a neat looking timeline with minimum information on it. So posts from any one, including those written by the owner of the Google+ account, will appear on that screen.
Just like several social networks have Lists and Groups, Google Plus has Circles. The Circles icon will give you a list of all the existing and new Circles you have created along with the number of users in each Circle. You can add people to a Circle by tapping the icon on the top right corner of the app.
By default, Google+ has five Circles — Acquaintances, Family, Following, Friends and Work. These are comprehensive enough for basic classification of friends.
Huddles is the group chat option which shows up as a separate app on your device. Using Huddle, you can ask people to join group chat and can invite them by finding them via name or email. The best part is that whether you are a creator or just a participant you can always add more people to Huddle.
Google Plus’ Photos is one of the distinct features of the app. If you have clicked a photo using your phone camera, the Google Plus app caches and uploads that picture online to your Google+ account. The picture is then visible only to you and not to anyone else.