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Google+ opens its doors to Google Apps users

Google+, Google's burgeoning social networking platform, is finally opening its doors to all with the news that Google Apps users will now be allowed to sign up for a profile on the service.

When Google launched its answer to the popularity of Facebook, it was a closed beta. Despite this - and possibly thanks to a loophole that allowed people to invite others onto the service slightly before Google intended - Google+ grew rapidly, and was soon opened for all to use.

Well, almost all: while anyone with a standard Google account was invited to make a home for themselves on Google+, those who have Google Apps accounts were left out in the cold.

Google Apps is the company's - usually - paid-for service that adds uptime guarantees, support and enterprise-level administrative functionality to all of Google's multifarious services. It's a handy facility, but one which often ends up being locked out of new features.

Google+ was a case in point: until late yesterday, it was impossible for a Google Apps users to sign up for the service without creating a brand-new second account, separate from their Apps login.

"Starting now you can manually turn on Google+ for your organisation," crowed Google's Ronald Ho of the change. "Once Google+ is turned on, your users will just need to sign up at to get started. For customers who use Google Apps for Business or the free version of Google Apps and who have chosen to automatically enable new services, Google+ will automatically become available to all of your users over the next several days."

Google Apps users who decide to sign up for the service - assuming whomever is in control of the overall Google Apps account enables access - will have all the facilities a regular Google user has, along with a special 'circle' containing all the members of their Google Apps organisation.

The move has triggered some criticism, however: by default, it's possible for the administrator of a Google Apps account to view data posted by a Google+ user via that account, even if the data is flagged as private or shared only with select circles. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.