Tag - Hangouts
Google's largely-failed social media experiment, Google+, is reportedly approaching a transformation, with a renewed focus on Photos and Hangouts. The two popular features appear to be splitting apart from the central service, marking the first step in an apparent rebranding effort that is likely aimed at revitalizing -- or quietly killing -- the stagnate social network.
Hangouts, Google's messaging app, has received an update for iOS devices. Hangouts allows users to send and receive messages, photos and more, and make video and voice calls with a group or one-on-one. Hangouts v2.5.0 features new sticker packs, and improved video call experience alongside miscellaneous bug fixes.
Google is bringing Hangouts more in line with competing messaging services, such as Skype or AIM, by releasing a dedicated desktop app for Hangouts. The Hangouts Chrome App, available on Chrome OS and Windows, will provide a similar experience to the Android version, including calls and messaging, but through a desktop interface.
Google Voice is being integrated into Google Hangouts on Android, in what appears to be an an attempt by the search company to streamline its messaging services. Previously only available in the iOS version of Hangouts, the Android app now gives the option of making or receiving voice calls, text messages, and the ability to access voicemails on Google Voice.
Last week, Google announced that it has released a new extension that allows Microsoft Outlook users to participate in a Google Hangout. The plug-in will allow users who don't use Google's apps for their primary communications outlet the ability to participate in video chat without the need to pay for a Google Apps for Business account.
Sony has announced an update for its Android-based Smartwatch 2, adding a customizable watch face editor. Various widgets can be selected that include date, weather, calendar, Bluetooth, notifications, and more, with third-party developers welcomed to create new content. The Smartwatch 2 now has a built-in calculator app featured in the new update, as well as improved Gmail and Facebook apps. Featuring six new wallpaper options, the watch offers a new low-light double tap function that increases the display's brightness by thirty percent when touched. According to Sony's blog post, new options and further developments are on the horizon.
Messaging app Google+ Hangouts has received an update for iOS devices. Google+ Hangouts features free group audio calling with up to 10 people, and phone calls can be made through the app for free to numbers in the US and Canada. Now optimized for use on iPad, users of v2.0 can access picture-in-picture video calling as well as record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long. The app has been updated to reflect iOS 7, and has the addition of shareable animated stickers for expressing feelings and sending a map of one's current location. Google+ Hangouts is free to download, and is available on iTunes.
Google on Thursday released new versions of both its Hangouts communications suite and the Google Keyboard, bringing both of those apps to par with the versions shown off as part of Android 4.4 KitKat. The Hangouts app, in particular, saw the largest update, with Google bringing SMS and MMS messaging functionality to that app. Users can now receive text and picture messages sent to their regular phone numbers in the Hangouts app.
Google has opened up its Hangouts-based video support service to the general public. Google Helpouts, a service that was accepting applications by experts to offer their advice to others in late August, is now allowing users to search for and pay for a video conference with an expert to help them with a specific task or for general advice.
Google has introduced a new initiative, Connected Classrooms, that aims to enable "virtual field trips" via Google+ Hangouts. Upcoming events include sessions from the Seattle Aquarium and the Minnesota Zoo, along with a program "from the cockpit of a solar plane."