Big news from Google for Gmail users today. Instead of the Peer-to-peer video chat you are used to in Gmail, Google now pops in its superior Hangouts tech that allows up to 10 people to chat simultaneously.

Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.

This is huge not only for personal communications, but also for businesses that now have a free multi-caller video conferencing technology at their disposal. The Google Talk replacement might also explain the recent outage that knocked out Google Talk for most of the morning last week.

Not only will hangouts hopefully improve your chatting experience, but it will also bring more people and businesses into the Google Plus fold.