Google+ goes public
It has been a year of big announcements for Google, however, today's leading story is bound to have tongues wagging and new social media accounts.
The search engine has officially merged its social networking site with the company's broader range of user services – effectively opening Google+ to the public.
This follows a 90-day field trial where a range of different features were tested by members able to subscribe to the social network on an invitation-only basis.
In a statement on Google's official blog, Vic Gundotra, senior vice-president of engineering, said: "Google+ is still in its infancy, of course, but we’re more excited than ever to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software."
Gundotra also took the opportunity of Google+ going public to announce a range of new features designed to assist individuals as they navigate the site and personalise their online experience.
One of the most exciting developments is a video sharing tool which has already proven popular on the social network.
Hangout, the video streaming software, allows up to nine people to take part in real-time conversations.
The feature is also being extended to a variety of different platforms including public streams, Hangouts on air, in addition to some mobile phones.
American rapper will.i.am is expected to host the first public stream today (September 21) as part of the official launch.
And it seems that the more Google works to allow users to share original content in new and exciting ways greater their user uptake.
Official statistics have yet to be released, however, it is widely estimated that Google+ has grown its membership to 25 million users since it was first made available.
For those who own an Android smartphone with a camera the Hangout feature is now available.