SIX YEARS AGO today, the biggest single most important invention to come out of technology in the 21st century was announced.
Google+ was born out of the success of Google Buzz and Google Wave - two products that had already, according to their manufacturer, "changed everything", prompting millions to get social for the first time.
Of course, Google+ was far from the first social network, that was Friendster, which is still going today, concentrating its efforts on being a 404 page.
But it was Google+ that really grasped the idea of capitalising on the Google Buzz technology that we already had and actually baking it into the search engine meaning you only needed one site to share your opinions with thousands of Google employees who had been made to sign up for the service.
At launch, Google+ contained a whole bunch of new features that we take for granted today, like Hangouts. By inventing Hangouts after Microsoft's MSN had invented it first, it was able to capitalise on the latest and greatest technology to create something that no one used.
Today Hangouts is one of six different chat packages offered by Google, a clear sign of the success of the concept.
The first Google+ interface was criticised for not including many of the features of its rivals - such as being able to throw a sheep out of a window, or having users who weren't other Google employees, but it wasn't long before Google had completely mesmerised the world into believing that not only had it invented social networking but that it was the only social network. Google+ has become a quasi-religious experience for millions of users.
Down the years that followed, Google has made many changes to make Google+ even better, including getting rid of some features, getting rid of some more features, and barely mentioning it at all at Google I/O.
At the moment, we're waiting for Google+ 8, which we think will turn Google+ into a shared experience in the cloud of your imagination, sometimes known as a "digital memory".
And so we say, happy birthday Google+ - unlike any other product that might share your birthday (like the 999 service for example, and definitely nothing else) then you've truly changed everything. µ
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