It’s a short week for those of us in the UAE, but there’s still plenty to highlight in this special all-Google edition from the week that was.

Google Launches Google+

The much-hyped Google social network, dubbed Google+, is now open for a public beta and invites to the Google+ network are already going fast. Once inside, users will notice some striking similarities to Facebook, or as some commentators have uncharitably put it, a “clone.” Keep an eye on the growth of Google+ to see whether this is the next Gmail or the next Google Wave.

Saudi Arabia teams up with YouTube to bring videos to TV sets

The Next Web Middle East covers the announcement that Saudi Arabia has partnered with YouTube to allow users to watch YouTube videos on their TV without needing to use their phones or computers. Much digital ink has already been spilled about the convergence of TV and the Internet, and this announcement out of Saudi Arabia is another step in that direction.

Word of Mouth and the Internet

Finally, Google released a new study which (unsurprisingly) reaffirms the importance of search’s role in the approximately 3.3 billion brand mentions that happen in the US every day. While the study doesn’t contain Middle East specific data, it’s a good reminder that while Facebook is on the rise, Google still has an important role to play in today’s media environment. Moreover, if Google+ succeeds, combined with Android, YouTube, Google Voice and more, it’s clear Google will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future.