Google+ Gets Search & New Hangouts Features, Invitations No Longer Required

Chris CrumSocial Media

Share this Post

Just as we were discussing how dead or not dead Google+ is, Google has gone and announced new features and opened the service up so you no longer need an invitation.

Among the new features is a search feature, which was strangely absent from the beginning (considering this is Google we're talking about).

"Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web," says Google SVP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra. "If you’re into photography, for example, then you’ll see other enthusiasts and lots of great pictures. If you care more about cooking, then you’ll see other chefs and food from around the globe. In all cases, Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news."

Here's what it looks like when you search in Google+:

Search on <a href=Google+" src="" title="Search on Google+" class="aligncenter" width="616" height="476" /> 

Search on <a href=Google+" src="" title="Search on Google+" class="aligncenter"> 

Users with supported devices will happy that Google has launched mobile hangouts. Supported devices are those with Android 2.3+ and front-facing cameras, but iOS support is on the way.

mobile hangouts

This is available as a separate app in the Android Market.

Google also introduced some more Hangouts-related features called Hangouts Extras. These include screensharing, Sketchpad and Google Docs support, and hangout naming. These are only being previewed so far:

Hangouts Extras

Hangouts Extras

Hangouts Extras
Hangouts Extras

Google has also made the Hangouts API available, following last week's launch of the first Google+ API.

Google also introduced Hangouts On Air, which lets you broadcast your hangouts to bigger audiences and record them. You can still have up to 9 people actually join, but anyone else can watch it as well. They're only doing this with a limited number of broadcasters to start, but anyone can watch. They're doing one with on Wednesday.

Interestingly, Gundtora says now that Google+ is open for everyone, they're moving "from field trail to beta". As far as most users are concerned, these labels are probably irrelevant.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.