After a three-month invite only field test, Google+ released the social network to open beta yesterday afternoon. Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, posted the following message to the Google Blog announcing open sign-ups:
“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 sign-ups.”
To increase exposure to the public launch of its new social network, Google has placed an ad on its homepage directing users to a Google+ link. When users click the link, it launches the Google+ homepage and directs the user through the signup process. The ad, a HUGE animated blue arrow that is drawn across the Google homepage, is impossible to miss. When a user rolls over the blue arrow, the following popup appears: “You’re invited to join Google+.”
The Google+ social network rapidly reached a user base of approximately 25 million active users during the invite-only beta testing period. Although Google+ seamlessly integrates with other Google services and provides users with virtually unlimited photo and video storage, the new social network has many limitations that may impede growth. However, today’s large ad indicates Google’s commitment to Google+ and the rollout of over 100 new options is most likely an attempt to improve the social network and draw users away from Facebook.
In an effort to combat “Facebook fatigue,” Facebook is rapidly launching new features and attempting to solidify its position as the dominant social media market leader.
The competition between Facebook and Google+ is spurring constant innovation and will undoubtedly drive both companies to continually develop and provide better features for end-users.