Google Plus, now for everyone

Google is throwing open the doors for its social network to everyone, the company announced in a Tuesday blog post.

“For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal,” Google’s social head Vic Gundrota wrote Tuesday. “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 do away with invitation-only signups.

Gundrota also announced several new and improved features to the service’s video Hangout feature, and applied some of its search magic to the network as well.

Hangout users can now name, record and broadcast video sessions. And while you’re on a video chat, Google has now also given you the option to share your screen, make a collaborative doodle, work on a documents.

The Search function, now accessible from the Google+ search box will return results that include content from the social network and the Web.

Mobile users also saw a huge boost in features, with the company switching on mobile Hangouts, improving SMS support and sharing features and adding more profile editing options for mobile users. Another change: Google Huddle, the group messaging program, is now called Messenger — sound familiar? — and now supports photo sharing.

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More technology coverage from The Post

Facebook messaging goes mobile (with a hidden surprise?)

Schmidt: Google Plus is for those who want to use their real names

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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