group chat Stories July 9, 2013

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. expand full story

group chat Stories April 25, 2013

Google announced some new handy features for Drive on its official Google Drive Blog today. To make it even easier to quickly see who you are collaborating with inside a file in Drive, Google has added profile pictures in addition to names at the top of the web app. Hovering over the new profile pics will let you see details and add users to circles on Google+:

Now when you open a file in Drive, you’ll see the profile pictures of other viewers at the top instead of just their names, making it easy for you to do a quick scan of who else is in the file. You can hover over a photo to see details about the viewer and add them to your circles on Google+ — all without ever leaving Drive.

Google is also providing easy, one click access to starting group chats with both new features rolling out to users in the next couple of days. Google also confirmed it will be adding support for new files types soon, such as Google Sheets.

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