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Launched in June 2011 by search engine giant Google Inc., Google+ is a social networking service that integrates numerous Google services, including Google Profiles.
Most notably the service -- also referred to simply as G+ -- allows users to group their contacts into Circles, enabling members to sort their contacts into specific categories. This in turn allows users to tailor posts and send them to specific social groups.
Other notable Google+ features include Hangouts, which allows members to start on-screen gatherings where users can chat live with their contacts, Sparks, which collects articles and videos that might be of interest to users, and Huddle, which allows users to stay in touch with contacts while on-the-go via group messaging on smartphones.
While the beta launch was invite-only, the network is now open to all users and businesses. As of January 2012, Google co-founder Larry Page said Google+ had more than 90 million users.