Google hosting a special Hangout on August 1st to discuss its new self-driving car

Self-Driving-Prototype-Google-Car

If you’d like to know what makes Google’s self-driving car tick, the company is hosting an interactive Hangout as part of its Maker Camp field trip program. The festivities start on Friday, August 1st at 11AM PT/2PM ET, but you can start asking your questions right now. In addition to a Q&A session with participants, Google will be discussing how its driverless car operates, as well as the project’s latest developments.

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Google Voice now features calling from Hangouts on the web

google voice hangouts

We reported earlier this year that Google has plans to eventually roll Google Voice’s features into its Hangouts service and retire the former product, and we’re slowly seeing that transition play out now. Google’s Alex Weisen, who works on Google Voice, shared last night in a Google+ post that they’re making calling via Hangouts an option from the Google Voice website. Furthermore, the functionality will not require a Google+ account to work either. The option appears to be live on the Google Voice web interface now. Read more

Google Hangouts for iOS updated with iOS 7 design, iPad optimization, more

After a wave of updates for its Android apps yesterday, Google has just announced an update to its Hangouts for iOS app. The update brings the app version number 2.0.0 and is the first update for the app since all the way back in November.

The update adds a plethora of features and design tweaks, most notably of which is an iOS 7 optimized interface. There are aren’t a ton of changes, but everything definitely has the iOS 7 look and feel to it.Menus and buttons are now totally “flat” and much cleaner overall. The iPad app has also gotten some major tweaks, including picture-in-picture video calling. The app also now supports the ability to send video messages up to 10 seconds long, ala Snapchat.

The full changelog is below:

  • Fully-optimized for the iPad, including picture-in-picture video calling
  • Animated stickers that help you share exactly how you’re feeling
  • Record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long
  • Send a map of your current location

The update is live on the App Store now.

Google’s new Connected Classrooms program takes students on virtual Google+ Hangout field trips

Google today announced that its launching a new education initiative that will see students taking “virtual field trips” using Google+ video chat Hangouts. Google explains that it’s now allowing teachers to sign up for the field trips through a program called Connected Classrooms.

Teachers are already using Google+ to make learning more relevant, collaborative and accessible—from exploring a world-class art museum to staging a play to venturing into space. Connected Classrooms aims to make it easier for teachers to access exciting educational content to share with their students. In addition to the virtual field trips, teachers who visit the Connected Classrooms site will have the opportunity to join a Google+ Community with other educators to collaborate on field trips and share best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.

The first locations featured as virtual field trips will include the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo and the Solar Impulse hangar. Google is also partnering with over 20 organizations to that will help organize the field trips, some of which include National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Read more

KitKat to drop Messaging app, integrate SMS and MMS into Hangouts?

hangouts

Android Police has screenshots suggesting that both SMS and MMS messaging are being integrated into Google Hangouts, with the standalone Messaging app likely to be dropped from KitKat (Android 4.4) – first on Nexus devices and later on others.

The screenshots claim to be from Hangouts 1.3. It’s just speculation that this will ship with KitKat – it’s possible that it may be released before or after. We have recently seen claimed screenshots of KitKat that include the Messaging app, but that isn’t inconsistent with the idea that it would be dropped from the Nexus first …  Read more