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Hangouts on your phone  (Source: The Official Google Blog)

Hangouts On Air  (Source: The Official Google Blog)

Screensharing (Left) and Sketchpad (Right)  (Source: The Official Google Blog)

Google+ Search  (Source: The Official Google Blog)

Google Docs (Left) and Named Hangouts (Right)  (Source: The Official Google Blog)
The invite-only field trial is over, but Google will continue making new features and updates

Since Google+'s release on June 28, it has been in an invite-only field trial where invited users could try it out and make suggestions along the way. After nearly 90 days in field trial mode, Google is opening its social network up to everyone, and has made a total of 100 updates to enhance the experience.

While 91 of these updates have been made throughout the months, Google is releasing nine new features today that totals it up to 100 according to The Official Google Blog.

Most of the new features are Hangouts-related. Hangouts lets users chat via live video, and it has been used for cooking classes, game shows, and just catching up with friends/family. Google wants to boost the Hangouts experience with a few new features, such as Hangouts on your phone, Hangouts On Air, Named Hangouts, Hangouts APIs and Hangouts with Extras like screensharing, Sketchpad, and Google Docs.

Hangouts on your phone is exactly what the title suggests -- video Hangouts on your mobile device. It allows people to video chat while on-the-go, and they can do so by simply finding an active Hangout in the Stream, and tapping "join." Users must have Android 2.3 or greater with front-facing cameras, and starting today, the app is available on the Android Market. According to Google, iOS support is on the way soon.

Hangouts On Air is a public broadcast feature that allows users to speak to a large audience or be the spectator. To do this, just start a normal hangout, and the option to broadcast and record your session will become available. Select this option, and once you're "On Air," up to nine other people can join the broadcast. Google is currently limiting the number of broadcasters, but any Google+ member can tune in as spectators. On Wednesday, September 21, Google+ will host its very first On Air Hangout with American musician

Hangouts with Extras consists of screensharing, which allows users to show off what's on their screen such as vacation photos or a high score; Sketchpad allows users to doodle or draw; Google Docs gives users the option to write or plan something with others, and Named Hangouts is a Hangout that is associated with a certain topic like music or sports.

Hangouts API allows developers to build new kinds of apps and games for Google+ along with other creative individuals.

In addition to the various Hangouts-related features, Google+ now also features a search option, which will return relevant people and posts as well as info from the Web. For instance, a Google+ member who is interested in photography can search "photography" and find people who are also into that topic as well as a myriad of photos.

The final new feature for today is opening Google+ up to everyone outside of the invite-only field trial. While Google+ is not completely finished with its updates and new features, it wants to open the social network for everyone to try out.

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By lolmuly on 9/20/2011 5:39:31 PM , Rating: 5
social networking.... no thanks.

RE: meh....
By TSS on 9/20/2011 7:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
yknow i had a chat with my dad about social media today. We arrived there from a chat on why games in their current state where frustrating the hell out of me - used to be you could meet new friends in random games, now it's mostly filled with trolls and flamers, if you want to play a good game you have to play with friends you've already made somewhere else. Which for me pretty much killed my digital social life (i never had a real social life anyway).

But thing is, the average age of gamers if growing older and older. And that's the thing: Maybe gaming - hardcore gaming - was a thing of a specific generation. My generation. With the current generation growing up with consoles and whatnot, it means competative gaming is simply going to die out and move back to an underground scene - it'll be for the nerds once more.

Social media is the thing of the current generation. Where i used to meet people on MSN zone, and, the current generation meets new people on, googleplus, youtube and others ( remains popular here in holland). Of course there's people of all ages. But i've got a strong feeling it's kids pulling the people around them in.

I've seen people my generation go to those websites - but very few actually do it for the social stuff. Most do it for the games that are on there (kings of chaos was a big hit in my class back on my IT education).

It has it's place, and it will die out when the next big thing comes around the corner - who knows what it'll actually be. But for now, social networks are here to stay.

RE: meh....
By Shadowmaster625 on 9/21/2011 8:26:10 AM , Rating: 4
No one meets anyone on facebook.

RE: meh....
By Dr of crap on 9/21/2011 8:42:32 AM , Rating: 1
I agree.

WHY does EVRYONE think I want to know what they're doing or thinking 24 hours a day?

I much rather be outside, in the real world, doing anything other than posting about anything!

RE: meh....
By bobcpg on 9/21/2011 10:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
This argument is showing its age. If you think about it your statement could apply to many things you use today. Phone, Car, many kitchen appliances and others.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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