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.”
As we reported previously, Google has just publicly launched a new platform for getting real-time help with any problem you might be facing. Helpouts is a new video chat service that lets you talk one-on-one with experts in a variety of fields such as art, fashion, healthcare, and gardening.
Some of the Helpouts are free while others will cost per session or per minute, depending on the topic and the expert. The chats are powered by Hangouts, but only involve two parties—you and your instructor. The instructors can set times that they are available for a Helpout, and users can book a session in advance. Instructors credentials, certifications, and experience are listed right on the booking page and users can leave reviews of their sessions.
It appears Google will at least partly be allowing providers on Helpouts manage their own experts. For example, TakeLessons, one of Google’s partners providing music lessons on Helpouts explained out it will offer services by tapping into the experts already using its own service:
A new update for the Google+ Android app rolling out in the coming days will make it easier for users to switch between multiple accounts, improve location sharing controls, and finally get rid of the in-app Messenger to make way for Google’s new Hangouts app.
Google employee Virgil Dobjanschi shared details on the new version of the app, noting that switching accounts will now be as easy as it is with Gmail:
Just like Gmail for Android, you can now switch between multiple Google+ accounts with a couple of taps (vs. signing out and signing in again). And the Google+ pages you manage are likewise in the app menu at all times.
The updated app also brings the ability to view and share photos and videos that are stored in Google Drive, and improved location sharing controls: Read more
When Google rolled out its new unified Hangouts messaging service, some users were disappointed that the new experience within Gmail removed the ability to place free calls within the US and Canada. Google previously confirmed that the feature would be returning and today it announced on its Gmail blog that it is rolling out the free calling feature to Gmail Hangouts and also adding some new features.
In addition to improvements to desktop calling, such as the ability to “add multiple phone numbers and video participants to the same call” and play sound effects, it is also making calls to the US and Canada free from any country with access to Hangouts. Read more
Some of you might have noticed that updating to Google’s new unified Hangouts chat service in Gmail meant giving up the Google Voice calling capabilities that were previously available to users in the US and Canada. We suspected Google had plans to bring the feature back and users currently have the option of reverting back to the old Gmail chat in order to access the feature. Now Google has responded to concerns by promising that “Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls” will return in a future update.
Google’s Nikhyl Singhal had this to say about Voice integration in Hangouts: Read more