Google opens Plus social network to everyone

NEW YORK (AP) ? Google says it has opened up its Google Plus social network to everyone after testing it for 12 weeks. It is also adding a search capability.

Google Inc. said in a blog post Tuesday that it will now let anyone sign up for Google Plus. Previously the service was only available by invitation, though it got easier to join in recent weeks.

Google Plus is the online search leader’s attempt to compete with Facebook, by far the world’s most populous online social network with more than 750 million users.

Google also says its “Hangouts” feature, which lets users video chat with multiple people at a time, is now available on smartphones. The feature currently works with phones running Google’s Android system. Google says support for Apple devices is coming soon.