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
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.
As Hangouts on Air grows in popularity, Google is working to standardize it as a professional tool. With that in mind, the company is introducing “Control Room,” providing Hangout users the opportunity to “adjust the audio and video levels of your participants so viewers can simply enjoy the show.”
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
Google now has a landing page of a closed beta of a novel new system of monetizing tutoring over Google+’s Hangouts conveniently called Helpouts. The service was first reported a month ago. The idea is pretty simple. If you have a skill area that you think other people can benefit from, you sign up as an expert. Then on the other end, people who need tutoring in that area find an expert in that area that is online for the right price. Google takes care of the transactions. IT will be
I know people who do their counseling and tutoring over Skype or iChat already, so there is certainly a need in this area.
But the devil will be in the details. Reputation building and scoring will be important as well as keeping it clean from porn (or segregated if that’s what Google wants). Right now Google is inviting people who might be interested. I’m keeping an eye on this one – I hope it makes it through Google Purgatory. Read more