Today, Google announced the availability of its new Showcase app for Hangouts on Air that lets hosts promote content related to their conversation like websites, YouTube videos, Google+ profiles and content from Google Play via an onscreen panel displayed on the right-hand side of the video feed. For example, the cast of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes recently held a Hangout and used the Showcase app to share links to trailers and movie tickets.
Google has began rolling out an experimental feature on its search engine that makes it easier to find live events on YouTube or Hangouts on Air. A live event will begin showing up in search results up to 3 hours before it starts, providing users with a link that takes them to the event page to watch. A card-like box appears at the top of Google when searching for the name or author of live events. Read more
Earlier in the year we received word that Google Voice was getting the axe and its features were being rolled into Hangouts. Although it wasn’t openly discussed last week during Google’s I/O keynote, further exploration of the developer preview of Android’s L version has reinforced what we were told almost four months ago.
Last year, Google added SMS support to Hangouts, along with several other features. However, prior to this, the company also had a similar feature available in emerging markets that let users add their phone numbers to its instant messaging platform. Similar to Google’s defunct Gmail SMS service, this was an alternative for feature phone users and people in regions with limited internet access.
Google recently expanded its Apps services for enterprise users by making its premium communication features available to everyone. Apps customers can now broadcast a 15 person Hangout chat session with HD video quality, a perk previously unavailable to standard subscribers. Furthermore, these new premium features introduce enhanced privacy controls that let admins restrict a Google+ post’s visibility, along with the option to hide employee profiles from external searches.
In honor of Take Your Child To Work Day, Google will be hosting 18 virtual field trips today via Hangouts. The search giant is partnering with Forbes to set up visits to various businesses, which include trips to: the Georgia Aquarium, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Stanford National Lab and the Chicago Bulls locker room.