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.
Today, Google announced that Hangouts 2.1 will be releasing for Android later this week and that users will be treated to a nice list of improvements. The most notable being that SMS and Hangout conversations with the same user will now be merged. Meaning that if you start a conversation with someone over SMS through Hangouts and later resume talking with them through the app’s instant message setup, both chats will be merged into a single log.
We’ve heard that Google Voice is getting dragged to the trash can and most of its functionality will be incorporated into the G+ Hangouts apps on both Android and iOS. This has already happened to an extent with the ability to phone friends on Hangouts, but we’re hearing the full shuttering and depreciation of the app is the next step.
What’s interesting here is that VoIP-to-phones is expected to be integrated into the Hangouts iOS and Android apps so that, just like with the Web version, you could be able to actually make (and receive) VoIP calls directly from your Google phone number. Whether the carriers and Apple are okay with this isn’t certain, and the thought is that it could be enabled by carrier like Apple’s FaceTime (or could be scrapped altogether) depending on the global market and the carrier. Read more
Sundar Pichai at D: All Things Digital conference
Despite widespread reporting that Google bid and failed to purchase WhatsApp ahead of Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the messaging platform company, Google SVP Sundar Pichai went on the record during a panel discussion at Mobile World Congress to put that claim to bed, The Telegraph reports.
“Whatsapp was definitely an exciting product,” he said. “We never made an offer to acquire them. Press reports to the contrary are simply untrue.”
The source of the reports that Google attempted to pick up WhatsApp for $10 billion source back to a report by Fortune citing “two separate sources” claiming Google had previously underbid Facebook. Read more
Next Friday, January 31st, President Obama will embark on a Presidential Hangout Road Trip promoting his State of the Union address to Congress and responding to questions submitted via Google+ and YouTube.
The Presidential Hangout Road Trip is actually a Google+ Hangouts session allowing the President to respond online to user submitted questions and topics he addressed in Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech.
YouTube will be live streaming both the SOTU address and the Republican response starting at 9pm EST next Tuesday. Check below for how to submit a question to the President during the Hangout Road Trip: Read more
Google just dropped a few more updates for Glass via Google+ to help end 2013 in the best way possible. Included in this shiny new update are the Wall Street Journal, Weather Alerts, Winkfeed (different from yesterday), Upload to YouTube and Hangouts. All in all, it’s a pretty hefty update for Glass fans and offers a few more reasons to consider shelling out $1500 courtesy of the money you got from returning all those ugly sweaters your grandparents are preparing to give you on Christmas day.