Hangout Stories December 17, 2015

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The well-connected Derek Ross took to his Google+ profile yesterday, sharing a post entitled “Things that’ll piss people off”. In said post, he details something that — indeed — will piss people off. According to Ross (who has a pretty good track record when it comes to Google software), the Mountain View company is planning to strip SMS support from Hangouts in an effort to make the app better at its job… expand full story

Hangout Stories February 7, 2015

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Google has used its Hangouts technology in many ways over the last couple of years, and one big way was the introduction of a new service called “Helpouts” that lets people sell their expertise to others over video conferencing. Now, it looks like Google is bringing Hangouts to a new area: customer service on the Google Play store.

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Hangout Stories July 30, 2014

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If you’d like to know what makes Google’s self-driving car tick, the company is hosting an interactive Hangout as part of its Maker Camp field trip program. The festivities start on Friday, August 1st at 11AM PT/2PM ET, but you can start asking your questions right now. In addition to a Q&A session with participants, Google will be discussing how its driverless car operates, as well as the project’s latest developments.

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Hangout Stories July 24, 2014

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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. expand full story

Hangout Stories February 27, 2014

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.

Hangout Stories December 12, 2013

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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.”

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Hangout Stories November 4, 2013

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.  expand full story

Hangout Stories October 8, 2013

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Android Police has screenshots suggesting that both SMS and MMS messaging are being integrated into Google Hangouts, with the standalone Messaging app likely to be dropped from KitKat (Android 4.4) – first on Nexus devices and later on others.

The screenshots claim to be from Hangouts 1.3. It’s just speculation that this will ship with KitKat – it’s possible that it may be released before or after. We have recently seen claimed screenshots of KitKat that include the Messaging app, but that isn’t inconsistent with the idea that it would be dropped from the Nexus first …  expand full story

Hangout Stories September 25, 2013

Google Hangouts for Android gets status icons and more

Google is rolling out a new version of Google Hangouts today for Android that will bring a couple long requested features to the messaging service. On top of being able to see who is online with new green and grey icons next to contacts, Google is also making it easier to browse contacts and access invites:

– You can see who’s reachable right now on Hangouts. Green icons mean they are, and gray icons mean they aren’t.

– It’s easier to browse your contacts when starting a new Hangout. From top to bottom you’ll now see ‘People you Hangout with’, ‘Suggested People’, and ‘Other Contacts’.

– Hangout invites are now located above your conversations so they’re easier to find.

– Aaaand… you can hide people from the New Hangout screen by pressing on their name for a few seconds and touching ‘Hide contact.’

The update is hitting Google Play in the coming days as version 1.2.

Hangout Stories August 28, 2013

Google rolling out 720p HD Google+ Hangouts in the coming weeks

According to a new report from GigaOm, Google is in the process of rolling out an update to higher quality 720p HD video for Google+ Hangouts and Google’s Vic Gundotra later confirmed the roll out will continue over the coming weeks. The report explains that the move is part of Google’s transition to new plug-in free standards including the switch from the H.264 video codec to VP8:

One of the key advantages of VP8 is that it will enable Hangouts in HD, something that Chew said simply wasn’t possible with H.264, because handling HD streams from 10 participants would have required too much processing power. The new video format also makes it possible for Google to serve up better-looking streams at low bit rates, which is especially important when it comes to mobile video chats.

Google’s Vice President of Engineering Chee Chew told GigaOm that the company plans to move Hangouts to the open standard WebRTC standard, which it just implemented support for in Chrome, to provide a plug-in free experience for users and other improvements:

“We will eventually move over to WebRTC,” said Chew, but this process may take several more months. However, eventually, WebRTC could actually provide an even more immersive video chat experience, explained Chew. That’s because when the video becomes a native HTML element, it will be even easier to add overlays and other, more subtle improvements.

More details available in the full report here.

Hangout Stories August 21, 2013

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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. expand full story

Hangout Stories December 14, 2012

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Everyone finds a holiday angle during this time of year, and after launching 18 new features, dubbed as “treats” wrapped together “in one holiday package,” Google+ is one of the many.

On the mobile side, according to the official Gplusproject blog, Google+ announced it added new Android features that include on-the-go profile editing
, streamlined ways to author content, a notice when there’s new content to read, and the ability to subscribe to mobile notifications from favorite circles and interact with Google+ Communities. Google+ also launched full-sized backups of photos, with up to 5GB free (turn on Instant Upload to start), and photospheres now appear in the mobile stream (Android 4.2 required to snap 360-degree panoramas, but Froyo or later users can enjoy them now).

As for connecting, Google+ pushed out extra features to make event planning easier that include the ability to message specific guests, view opened invitations, and invite people through Google+ by sending an event URL via email or IM. Guests can also now RSVP with the number of people they want to bring, and a new duplication feature allows event makers to copy their original event as Google+ pulls all the important details.

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Hangout Stories August 15, 2012

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Google updated its Google+ for Android app today, and the most notable tweak allows users to join Hangouts on Air from their mobile devices.

That is not all: Teens can now create and join Hangouts from their mobile devices too. Apparently, they could not before, but Google now lets them take advantage of the social network’s premier video-chat feature on an Android-based smartphone or tablet.

Additional updates include:

  • – Floating timestamp in photos view
  • – Shortcuts for post creation
  • – Ability to report abuse in Events

 Screenshots of the updated app are below. 

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Hangout Stories August 1, 2012

Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra just posted an exclusive link on his Google+ profile for users to Hangout with their fantasy league at NFL.com.

The league is integrating Google+’s popular Hangout video-chat feature on NFL.com to give users a chance to visually interact with other Fantasy Football players from anywhere at any time. This is a huge advancement for the imagination-based sport, which typically eyes participation growth without any changes to technology.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the first time Google has implemented Hangouts into a third-party service. The feature is free and available 24/7 by way of a button on fantasy team pages. Google also increased Hangout’s 10-person limit, because leagues usually have about 12 players.

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Hangout Stories July 2, 2012

CamUp filed a lawsuit late last week that claimed Google ripped its video-chat feature for Google+ and YouTube.

The lawsuit filing revealed Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president, along with a few Mountain View engineers, approached the New York-based startup at the South by Southwest Festival in March 2011. They later met in London to negotiate adding a Hangout-like button, called “Watch with your friends on CamUp,” to Google’s popular video-sharing platform, YouTube. Despite receiving accolades on its product, CamUp did not hear from the Googlers after the meeting.

By May 2011, CamUp detected an alarming amount of visits from Google’s headquarters in California. The startup suggested that the traffic is evidence of Google beginning to examine its product for copying purposes. Google launched Hangouts with a “Watch your friends” button just one month later, which were allegedly indistinguishable from CamUp’s offerings.

CamUp is seeking damages, an injunction to remove Hangouts on YouTube and Google+, and it is suing Google UK’s Director of Business and Markets Richard Robinson.

The filing (via GigaOM) is embedded below.

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Hangout Stories March 28, 2012

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Daria Musk is a singer-songwriter that joined Google+ last July and went from zero followers to over 1 million with the help of Hangouts in less than 8 months.

Check out the video above to hear this performer’s awe-inspiring story. It looks like YouTube isn’t the only Google service turning-out stars these days (ahem—Bieber). The official Google Ad Words blog also highlighted Musk in a post today about how to go global with Google+:

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Hangout Stories March 20, 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will host a Google+ Hangout today as the first in a series of GOP presidential candidate Hangouts.

“In American politics, there’s nothing quite so frantic or fast-paced as a presidential campaign,” announced Google+’s Head of Community Partnerships Steve Grove on the page. “Google+ Hangouts have made that a little bit easier, providing new ways for politicians, political organizations, advocates and campaigners to connect directly over video to share information online.”

More information is available below.

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Hangout Stories January 30, 2012

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We told you last week that President Obama would be joining Google+ users for a live Hangout tonight at 5:30 p.m. ET from the White House. You can tune in to the live stream of the interview and Q&A session above.

Yesterday Google’s Vic Gundotra posted on Google+ about the unusual circumstances of hosting a live hangout from the White House:

“Team is nervous tonight. A lot of unusual circumstances that make this broadcast even more challenging. (You just don’t walk into the West Wing of the +The White House and set up computer equipment!)”

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Hangout Stories January 11, 2012

The search giant today introduced a couple enhancements to Hangouts, the group video chat feature of the Google+ social service. The new look of the Hangouts interface follows the design language used across Google’s many properties on the web. Thanks to the optimized layout, there is now more real estate for the actual live video feed, leading to a better and more immersive user experience.

Besides the revamped look, Hangouts now support screen sharing, which Google said, “Has graduated from Hangouts with Extras.” Hangouts screen sharing is designed to enable anyone to easily share what is on his or her computer screen with everyone in the hangout. Google noted that many other extras would soon graduate to Hangouts.

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Hangout Stories October 11, 2011

In attempt to grow their young social network, Google has taken out a full page ad in the traditional print version of the New York Times promoting Google+ Hangouts. Search Engine Land posted the photo above, where Google talks about the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu hosting a Hangout last week in their ad. Google strikes out parts to explain how they came to the rescue when the Dalai Lama wasn’t granted a visa to visit South Africa.

Google’s decision to take out a full ad was definitely smart. Yesterday numbers were published by an analyst showing how much of Google+’s traffic is beginning to decline, but maybe spreading the social network to a different set of people will help. That ad is great and all, but why didn’t Google use some images to catch the eye?

Hangout Stories September 29, 2011

Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am has announced on Google+ that his music group will be hosting a backstage hangout, well, via Google+ Hangouts. The Hangout will take place tomorrow at 6 PM EST, before the BEP’s concert in Central Park. Will.i.am posted:

lets have fun at the backstage hangout…we even have a hangout onstage as well… i want to re-define backstage interaction with fans who can not make the show…i think this will be the very first online backstage onstage web cam session… “i like doing things 1st”

Yeah guys, Fergie will probably be there too.

Hangout Stories July 24, 2011

Here’s a new idea for Google+ — musician Daria Musk is hosting a concert over a Google+ Hangout. Currently, Hangouts are limited to ten users so Daria is streaming the event on the website HangoutParty. Go ahead and enjoy some good music!

via Robert Scoble

Hangout Stories July 12, 2011

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Regardless of your politics, this is interesting.  Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich talked with a group over Hangout — taking questions and even asking them. Among other topics, Newt talked space to the debt ceiling, and someone was nice enough to post a video recap. This is an incredible tool for politicians to use, and we expect more to hop on as the election nears.

via Vic Gundotra  expand full story

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