One of the most common complaints about Google+ has been the inability to search content posted by other Google+ users. In fact, it was one of the primary reasons I rarely used the social network, as finding content I was interested in — and not just being shared the most in my circles — was impossible.
Today, Google announced that it has brought the full service of Google search into Google+. Users can now search for any topic, such as “Pumpkins,” and find all posts related to the search, segmented by “Best of” and “Most Recent.” The search results also return related People and Sparks, which are news stories shared on Google+ related to your topic. An “everything” button consolidates the entirety of the search — people, posts and Sparks — into one stream.
Along with this new feature, Google introduced new features for its famous Hangout feature. Hangouts, which allow a user to video chat with up to 10 other users at one time, is now packed with more features. Users can “hang out” on their Android phone, as well as do a live-broadcast that an unlimited number of users can watch. This feature, called “On Air,” is being tested by a few users at the moment, but will likely be welcomed by power Google+ users with a large audience, such as Chris Pirillo. Hangouts with Extras are also offered for all users to test out. These extra features include screensharing, a sketchpad, Google Docs (yes, right in the hangout), and for when you want to write, plan or present something with others, and named hangouts.
An API for hangouts was also announced, as well as the news that Google+ is open to everyone. It will be interesting to see if opening Google+ to the public and launching these new features will attract more users to Google+ — or at the least, keep current users active on the social network.
What do you think of these new features for Google+? Let us know in the comments.