Google opened its social network to all users on Tuesday, touting 91 improvements to Google+ since June. But to really rival Facebook, Google needs to attract a critical mass of users to its service.
Google+, the search engine’s attempt at social-networking, opened to the public on Tuesday as the Web giant invited all users (well, everyone 18 and up) to its service by way of a giant arrow on the Google home page. Google also announced that it has made 91 improvements to the service since its launch in June, including tweaks to search and to the “Hangouts” video chat feature.
Has interest in Google+ already crested, though? To answer that question, let’s look back to its launch at the beginning of the summer. When Mountain View unveiled this Facebook challenger on June 28th, the general consensus was that it was a pretty hip offering. Google had designed Google+ to address some of the major gripes people had with Facebook, particularly by making it easy to share updates and information with limited circles of friends, as opposed to sending pictures of your night out to college friends and employers alike.
Google+ was technically still in beta during this time – to join, you had to get a referral from a friend – and that exclusivity was part of its allure. Regardless, more than 25 million people had signed up by early August, just four weeks after its launch. (Facebook has more than 750 million users.) At the time, Google+ undoubtedly benefitted from a public backlash to Facebook’s highly-publicized privacy issues, but the new service certainly seemed to have leg.