UPDATE: After 12 weeks of testing, Google+ opened its doors to the public. Users from around the world can now sign up to use this service without an invitation.
PREVIOUSLY: Google is betting that its new social network, Google+, will fix what it calls the "awkward" state of online sharing--but Google isn't sharing invitations to its latest project with everyone.
Users have been clamoring for invitations to Google+, which Google launched as a limited "field trial," noting "you may find some rough edges." Access to the project is currently by invitation only, and a limited number of users were given 15 invitations apiece to bring others on board.
If you're eager to begin trying out Google+ and can't find someone with a spare invitation, you can sign up to request a Google+ account here. Google has created an entry form that asks people to submit their first name and email address so they can stay posted as the service is rolled out more fully. "We’re still ironing out a few kinks in Google+, so it’s not quite ready for everyone to climb aboard," Google wrote. "But, if you want, we’ll let you know the minute the doors are open for real. Cool? Cool."
Google has also created a Twitter account, GooglePlus, that has been tweeting out information about the new service.
(UPDATE: The account has been suspended and was allegedly not an official Google account.)
This is hardly the first time that Google has created a buzz by limiting a new service to a select group of initial users. Like Google+, Google Wave was at first available only by invitation, as was Gmail.