A Google+ upgrade that could be useful for PR counselors (and journalists)

Google announced on Tuesday that its social network is now open to everyone; it also unveiled a handful of improved features—like this one that could be of service to you.

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Of course, considering how easy it was to score a Google+ invite, you probably figured it already was open to the public.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of engineering, said:

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 signups. This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about.

The latest improvements include Hangouts on smartphones and tablets (Hangouts is the video-chat feature that lets up to 10 people take part); a new hybrid search that enables users to search within the social network and on the open Web; several Hangout “extras,” and more.

An additional feature that may wind up being the most relevant for PR professionals and journalists is Hangouts On Air. It enables Google+ users to create a Hangout session that anyone can watch. These On Air sessions can also be recorded.

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