Yesterday the big news about Google’s Hangouts app was that Google Voice was finally being merged into the platform. As that update continues to rollout to users, Google has announced some other improvements to the Hangouts platform for communication. Perhaps the biggest change is that users accessing Hangouts using the iOS or Android app can now participate in video calls without a Google+ profile. The ability to do this first appeared in July when Google added this to the web-based Hangouts interface.
Google Hangouts is receiving an update to bring voice calling to hangouts in addition to video calls. The calls are free to other hangouts users, U.S. numbers, and Canadian numbers.
During a live broadcast of anything, clapping is an indication as to whether something is good or bad. Online, however, it can be tough to show good or bad reactions. Today, Google is introducing Applause to Hangouts On Air. It will allow viewers of a live broadcast to give thumbs up or a thumbs down to the creator. At the bottom, a chart will monitor how the live broadcast is making everyone feel. Green means things are going great and red is a sign that the live broadcast is a little iffy according to viewers.
Source: +Ming Zhang
Something that’s annoyed a lot of users since Google Talk became Google Hangouts is the scattered contacts list. Google’s fixed that, by having friends who are online shown first, followed by those who aren’t. You can also pin your favorite contacts to the top so you can easily communicate with them. Still, you can message offline contacts of course, and they’ll get the message the next time they check Hangouts.
Google is reportedly working on a new feature for the desktop version of Hangouts that will make chatting a much better experience for users. This new feature is called “Ultra Violet” and will allow you to set up floating conversations that you can move around your screen, as opposed to just having minimized tabs like we do now.
The circles float around like Facebook’s famous “chat heads” and expand into a full conversation when clicked. Whenever a new conversation starts, another chat head is added to the row below the current conversations, which makes it easy to keep track of which conversations are currently active.
Google latest acquisition is the instant messaging company, Emu, that left beta status earlier this year. Emu set itself apart from other messaging services by allowing users to use voice controls to do things like set calendar appointments and other tasks, not unlike a Google Now or Siri. Not only that, but Emu used contextual information from the conversations you were having to make recommendations on things like restaurants or places of interest that you might enjoy.
Google is pushing out updates to a few of its apps, including Hangouts, YouTube, and Play Music. None of the updates are huge, but they bring a few extra features that are definitely worth having.
Google really wants businesses to use Hangouts for video chat, but the problem is that there are so many different alternatives with different features. Google is trying to get a leg up, by announcing that anyone with a Google account can now enter a video Hangout, regardless of whether or not the user has a Google+ profile. In addition, another big change is that up to 15 Google Apps users can be part of an HD Hangout.
In addition to those two big changes, there are numerous other updates, including additional markets for the Chromebox for meetings hardware, and increased customer support. They are outlined in the source link below.
Source: Google Enterprise Blog
We already know that Google has been working for a while now on completely migrating the functions of Google Voice into Hangouts, so that it can merge most of its communication apps into one (besides Gmail).
We’re getting closer to that reality now, as Google has added support for making phone calls via Hangouts from the Google Voice website — and you don’t even need Google+.
Ever since we first got wind of Google’s Hangouts application, everyone thought it would be the one application that would unite all of Google’s messaging services. Unfortunately, it united everything but Google Voice. Now, a photo and a video has leaked showing that this feature is indeed coming to Android devices.