Google Docs have just gotten a promotion in the realm of Google+. Today, the Google+ team announced that Google Docs are now part of the core Hangout experience, and can be accessed with the click of a single button from the main hangout screen.
Last year we launched Hangouts with extras as a way to preview certain hangout features. Google Docs integration was one such extra, and the Google+ community has used it for all sorts of awesome — from trip planning and lecture notes to doodling and charades. Today I’m happy to announce that we’re graduating Google Docs to the core Hangouts experience for all users.
What they are referring to is the fact that Google Docs have been accessible inside Hangouts for a few months now on a limited basis. Google+ Hangouts with Extras were the 94-97th “improvements” that Google announced when Google+ was still in its infancy. The “extras” included screensharing (which has already graduated), sketchpad, and Google Docs, all of which were available as preview features.
But now they are rolling the Google Docs functionality out to everyone. When you click the “docs” button (it will be at the top left, next to the other buttons), you can add an existing documents or upload a whole new one. Everyone in the hangout will be able to collaboratively edit multiple documents as one time.
Google+ Hangouts have already begun to catch on for businesses – either within the office or outside it. Adding collaborative doc-editing functionality to the core experience can only make Hangouts much more useful for this purpose.