Google replaces Gmail video chat with Google+ Hangouts
It is becoming apparent that Google is pushing its Google+ networking service with all of its might into the market. I'm not saying that Google+ is a bad service, or that it is weaker or less usable than other social networking services, but if it would have been created by a startup and not Google, it would be nowhere near its current traffic levels.
Google back in 2008 introduced video chat capabilities to its email service Gmail. It allowed Gmail users to quickly initiate video chats with other users of the service which sometimes worked better than having to send multiple emails back and forth. In many respects, it is a similar feature to Facebook's Skype integration, even though that happened later.
Probably the biggest issue with video chat until now was that it was only available on Gmail and based on peer to peer technology. Today Google announced that it is replacing Gmail video chat with the Hangout feature of Google+. This has several advantages on paper:
- Video chats are now also available on Google+ in compatible web browsers, and on Android and iOS devices, next to being integrated into Google Mail directly.
- If both chat participants use Google+, the full Hangout experience becomes available which means that the chat participants count increases to nine, and that features such as screen sharing, document collaboration or video watching become available as well.
Google notes that it will roll out Hangouts for Gmail from today on, and that all Gmail users should be able to use the service in the coming weeks. A short demonstration video has been created by Google to promote Gmail Hangouts and the new features that it introduces.
You can read the official announcement over at the official Gmail blog. What's your take on the change?Advertisement