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Google+ Shuts Down Invites After 'Insane Demand'

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Google co-founder Sergey Brin -- and no doubt the rest of the Googleplex -- are pleased with the flood of requests they got from users for Google+, Google's newest social-network play.

    Google shut down all invitations to its new social network, Google+, after "insane demand," a Google executive said.

    "We've shut down invite mechanism for the night. Insane demand. We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way. Thank you all for your interest!" Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering posted on Google+ Wednesday night.

    Google+ is Google's latest offering, a social network created in Google's image -- with its signature minimalist design and easy navigation. So far Google+ is in beta testing and users can only join if invited by an existing user, but Google needs to fix its invitations quickly if it expects to benefit from some of its recent press. (Note: Google+ invitations are so hot they're selling on eBay, and even Mark Zuckerberg is part of it. We noticed several dozentweets also inquiring about whether or not anyone had any invites left.)

    "The utility of a social environment depends on your ability to invite people to it,” Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Forrester Research, told Bloomberg News today. “If you want to try this out but your friends are not on the system and cannot get on the system because of the blocking of the invitation, it’s not a very good test.”

    Google quietly launched the service June 28 in an obvious attempt to compete with Facebook. Google+ has streaming updates of photos, messages, comments and other content from groups of friends and  integrates with Google Maps and images.

    Although Google is still testing Google+ out, it needs to hurry and get invitations to join out while enjoying some pretty good media exposure. We don't necessarily think this project will go the way of Google Buzz or Wave, but most of its success will be based on how well its launch captures the interest of users. If they can't join, then Google will lose valuable momentum and possibly a chance to seriously challenge Facebook's social media dominance.