Google+ (pronounced and sometimes written as Google Plus, sometimes abbreviated as G+) is a social networking and identity service, operated by Google Inc. The service launched on June 28, 2011 in an invite-only “field testing” phase. The following day, existing users were allowed to invite friends who are over 18 years of age, to the service to create their own accounts. This was suspended the next day due to an “insane demand” for accounts. Currently each Google+ member has 150 invites to give out. As of September 20, 2011 Google+ is open to everyone.
Google+ integrates social services such as Google Profiles and Google Buzz, and introduces new services Circles, Hangouts and Sparks. Google+ is available as a web site, and will be available as a desktop application, and is already available as a mobile application, but only on the Android and iOS operating systems. Google+ has launched its API platform for developers, mid-September, 2011. Sources such as The New York Times have declared it Google’s biggest attempt to rival the social network Facebook, which had over 750 million users in 2011.
Google Apps mail accounts are the only ones that cannot be used for Google+, as Google Apps doesn’t support Google Profiles yet.