July 7, 2011 at 1:33 AM ET
Wednesday night, we jumped at a tweet from the unofficial but official-looking @GooglePlusTweet account that read "Google+ is now open to anyone with a Google account." But when we investigated, sending in one of our team members who has yet to be plussed, it seems that while Google did briefly offer sign-ups, it was no longer the case. So, is Google just teasing? Yes and no.
In a Google+ post, real actual Google employee Dave Besbris, engineering director of the social network, explains the throttling approach:
First, we want to make sure our infrastructure scales so the service remains fast and reliable. Second, we want to ensure that bugs are fixed while there are still a relatively few people in the field trial.
Things are going well with the systems right now so we feel comfortable enough to open up invites for a brief period. Our goal is to double the user base in the field trial. (Sorry, we're not giving details about how many folks are in the field trial yet).
So, in a few minutes, we'll open up invites again.
We continue to throttle invites, so please don't mass invite folks as it won't work. If you invite a handful of your most important friends and family you're much more likely to get these folks into our system.
The take-home messages? Sign-up opportunities may appear periodically, but Google is not yet at a point where it will leave the front door wide open. And also, those of you who are blessed with the power to plus the unplussed should nevertheless exercise discretion (aka elitism, favoritism, chauvinism, snobbery).
As for those unofficial Google+ fanatics on Twitter, apparently at the moment they're trying to operate some kind of peer-to-peer marketplace for invites, with hashtag #needaninvite, if you want to try to enter into that whole mess.
OK, enough chatter, I gotta get back to my Google+ account and spend some quality time hanging and circling before the riffraff flood the place.
More on Google+ from msnbc.com's Technolog: