Google + Hangouts Get More Accessible and Feature-RichBy: Chris Crum - December 14, 2011
Google announced the launch of several new features for Google+ Hangouts.
For one, you can launch a Hangout from any post on Google+. There is now a “Hangout” button underneath any post, and if others are already hanging out, you can see their invitation in the comments of the post.
Google is also bringing Hangouts to Google+ Messenger on mobile devices. There is a new hangout icon inside. This will come out in the new Google+ app coming to the Android Market in the next few days. Google says it’s also coming soon to the app store.
Hangouts On Air was introduced in September to let a select few broadcast their hangouts to bigger audiences and record them. They debuted the feature with will.i.am. Google now says the feature is getting closer to general availability, but it’s not there quite yet.
However, they’re turning the feature on for hundreds more public figures, celebrities and other Google+ users with large followings. They’re making the feature completely self-service, and adding YouTube integration, so that when you’re off the air, a full-length, private recording of the video will be uploaded to your account.
Earlier this month, Google announced a new Hangouts with Extras feature that lets you make phone calls from inside Hangouts. Today, Google announced that it is making it possible to dial-in anyone from almost any country directly into a hangout, and calls to the U.S. and Canada are free.
Google is also making active Hangouts more accessible by adding them to the right-hand side of the stream, where you’ll now see up to three live hangouts that you can join, and sending you notifications when you’re invited to a hangout.
Finally, they’ve added a feature to let you put virtual antlers on yourself during hangouts for the holidays.
That silly Google. What will they do next?