After three months in limited field trial — though a limited field trial with over 20 million users that already makes Google+ the world’s fastest growing social network — Google+ is finally opening to the public allowing anyone to sign up. Not only allowing it, but encouraging everyone to sign up as much as they can. Now when you go to the Google home page this is what you see:
In addition to opening Google+ to the public for what Google is officially now calling a beta test (not yet a full release) Google has added a search bar to the top of Google+ that lets you search specifically within Google+ content.
Based on some playing around with the search function it looks like it does indeed search all public posts; however, it also gives some priority to posts from people within your circles.
As you can see, once you search you have the option of refining that search to People, Google+ Posts, Sparks, or Everything. Then you can choose to sort by “Best of” or “Most recent.” You cannot, interestingly, choose to search only within your circles, which could be a useful feature.
What Google+ is distinctly still lacking is the ability to create business or fan pages. Currently Google+ is not allowing non-human entities to have pages, though they’ve said that they are working on business pages and want to do it right. However, the delay is assuredly hurting them. With social media being such a big thing in internet marketing these days offering business pages would result in another swarm of not just pages, but also users.
Of course perhaps this is part of a deliberate tactic on Google’s part — the desire to keep the businesses and advertising out of there at first so users feel like Google+ isn’t filled with ads and people trying to sell them stuff. Still, fan pages at the very least are a significant driving force in social and the sooner Google can add them to the list of Goolge+ upgrades the better.