Big day in Google Land. And for me personally. That is because I am a huge fan of the fledgling social network, Google +. Granted, I have had a few complaints but what else can you expect a few from the three month old, closed beta service.
Today, however, a few of those complaints, including my biggest complaint, have been squarely addressed. First – the floodgates are open and anyone can sign up to Google + – it is now officially public beta. All my family and friends and colleagues can jump in and check it out. I hope they do – the more the merrier and the better the experience for everyone.
Another cool new add – Google Hangouts are going mobile! You will be able to “hangout” on your Android mobile phone running 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher. This is just great – I tend to be near my phone far more than I am near my computer so the odds are definitely better that I would use hangouts on the phone rather than the laptop. Some users are getting the ability to use Hangouts as public broadcasts. Share screens, use a sketchpad to doodle with participants, collaborate on or present a Google Doc, and join or create Named Hangouts. Just click on the “Try Hangouts with Extras” button in the Hangouts room. This certainly adds massive functionality to an already curiously cool service – the document sharing and collaboration feature alone could prompt me to get over my Hangout performance anxiety.
But the biggest news by far is that Google+ is now SEARCHABLE! I can’t really believe that it has taken the search giant this long to make its service searchable. But, that is all in the past. There is a search box at the top of the screen and when you type in a term, you can find people or topics that match the term. The results will come from everything that you can see, and can be filtered by “everything”, “people”, “Google + posts” and “Sparks.” Now I can find that post I saw last week on the newest Samsung Android handset. If only Google would collect all our +1’s on posts in + and maybe store them in a tab, then the service will REALLY get useful.
Regardless of my dwindling list of wants, these changes are quite exciting and, with the very recent release of Google + API’s, new goodies should be pouring down any minute now. If you haven’t checked out Google +, you might want to – there is a lot to love over there, with more to love every day. Check out the official post over at the Google Blog for more details.