For the last 90 days or so, Google+ has been in what Google calls the “Field Test” phase. That means the service is subject to problems at any time and only people with an Google+ invitation could sign up.
Starting from today, anyone can sign up on Google+ as they wish. Google just announced on the official Google blog that the registration process is now open to anyone with a Google Account. Although it may look like a sign of a finished product, Google states that ”We’re nowhere near done” and Google+ is only moved from Field Test to a Beta status.
It may seem underwhelming for some, as Google should have opened the gates when the hype was higher. The good news is that quite a few additional features are presented at the same time as this message. Here’s some of them:
- Hangouts on Android
Android Google+ users will soon be able to use the native app to communicate with circles using Hangouts. Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras, and iPhone support is upcoming as well.
- Hangouts On Air
Some people(like livecasters) will want to broadcast themselves to a larger audience than just your circle of friends. Select users will be able to share their experiences with the whole world.
- Hangouts Extras
Some activities such as screen-sharing, sketchpad, Named Hangouts and Google Docs are integrated with Hangouts, and you will be able to perform those activities with other people in the Hangout.
- Hangout API
In addition to last week’s Google+ API, Google is releasing a set of API that’s specific to Hangouts.
- Search on Google+
Need to find a post? Need to find someone in your contact list? Now you can with the new search bar on top of every Google+ page.
- Other changes
Huddle will be renamed to Messenger.
This is the official announcement at Google+’s blog, introducing the new policies:
100. Anyone can sign up for Google+—no invitation required.
For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal. 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 introduce our 100th feature: open signups. This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about.
Over the next day we’ll be rolling out all of these features globally. In the meantime, you can check out what’s next in Google+.