Google+ emphasizes privacy — like easily sharing with select groups of siblings or colleagues — and features like a video chat service called Hangouts. For Google, it is a way to fend off Facebook, which has been attracting users and advertisers, and gain social data to use to improve other Google services like search.
The social network had been open only to invitees since it was introduced in June, and existing members could invite others. Though the initial clamor for invitations has subsided, the service has been growing.
Recently, some detractors have said they do not find Google+ useful and have questioned whether the initial hype will wear off. Google’s challenge is to persuade users who already have a bevy of social networking options to regularly use yet another one.
To help it do that, Google also introduced several new features on Tuesday. Hangouts is now available on mobile phones, and people can broadcast Hangouts to anyone who wants to watch.
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