Google Hangout is Going Peer-to-Peer

Google hangout is used for work and personal use, often fighting against Skype for dominant market use. With tweaks and improvements over the horizon, the next change is going to be fundamental to how Hangouts will communicate with each other.

Hangouts suffers from the fundamental flaw that most video and audio communications technology suffer from, the connections. A bad connection often means that video services have to lower the quality of your video and even the audio. Remember when you’re watching Netflix and suddenly realise you are staring at coloured blocks and crackly audio? That’s because the connection you’ve got to the Netflix library is a little bumpy. This is even worse with services like Skype and Hangout when the connection goes from yourself to your contact/s via the service’s own servers, this means you are running through a busy junction in order to reach your destination. Hangouts looks to change this though by going Peer to Peer (this means you will only ever create a connection to your intended contact/s when possible.

If you often use Hangouts you will notice a small change, possibly a large one if you frequently get a bad connection. Could this be the first step to Hangouts becoming the go to communications service for people over the likes of its competition?

Google Hangouts Is Rolling out a New UI and Better Video Quality

Today we found out that Google has announced that they are bringing tweaks to Hangouts. The move is intended to streamline the user interface while at the same time improving the streaming video quality. Users can expect that calls will start faster and stay clearer and crisp throughout the call due to the higher video quality. User controls will be moved down to the middle of the screen at the bottom to give a larger more immersive experience while using the Hangouts app. There will also be a simplified invite system for starting up calls with your family, friends, and business contacts.

The information about the new user experience and improved quality was announced today by Google’s software engineer Eduardo Fernández. Today only a small test group of people will get the update, but over the next few days the update will be rolling out worldwide. Eduardo notes that there is good news for those who hate change, as there will be a setting in the Hangouts menu for “Original version” that will be laid out like what Hangouts currently looks like. This move will definitely be a big win for the users of the app since everyone will love the increased video quality since really, who doesn’t like better video quality? Do you use Google Hangouts or do you prefer Skype or something else?

Google Working on New Conferencing Tool Dubbed GMeet

It looks like Google is working on a new meetings and conferencing service called Google Meetings, or GMeet for short. The app seems to allow users to schedule and join teleconferencing calls using their Google account, having the app work similar to its Hangouts messaging app.

Users are able to create a meeting topic and send out invitations to whomever they want to join the meeting. Once the invitation is received, it takes one click and the user(s) are redirected to the newly created conference call.

This functionality looks pretty much similar to how Hangouts works, but with additional enterprise features added. Phanandroid also reports that GMeet and Google Meetings date back to 2011, indicating that Google was working on it even before Hangouts rolled out.

“Most of the code references things we already have access to in the latest rendition of Hangouts, such as whiteboards, screen sharing, and integration with Google Calendar”

Google is most likely going to add its service to the Google Apps for Work bundle, having the leaked screenshots display a working Android app interface. In addition to the latter, Google is rumoured to be working on a GMeet extension for Chrome as well.

The app seems to be currently in testing at Google, but it is said that the app will be released to more users in the near future.

Thank you 9to5 Google for providing us with this information

Google Hangouts 1.3.0 Update Gets Free Address Book Calling For iPhone Users

Google’s latest update for its Hangouts service, 1.3.0, brings a whole range of updates for Apple “iDevice” users. The main noteworthy addition is the ability to call anyone’s number from your address book in your iPad, iPod or iPhone for free providing they are in the USA or Canada when you ring them (international numbers can be rung for a fee). You can also place and receive calls using your own Google Voice number.

Version 1.3.0 allows you to see which of your friends are using Google Hangouts and whether or not you can reach them. The messaging part of the app now supports inline animated GIFs and they’ve also changed incoming message behaviour so that it only momentarily pauses your music instead of stopping it completely.

You can check out more details and download the latest version of Google Hangouts here.

Image courtesy of Google

SMS and MMS To Be Merged Into Hangouts By Google

The Hangouts application, which has so far only successfully unified Google+ Messenger and Google Talk, leaving Messaging and Voice to co-exist, is finally getting SMS and MMS integration. According to sources familiar with the matter, the upcoming Hangouts version 1.3 has these features enabled and, furthermore, also allows sharing of videos via the Hangouts protocol.

Messages sent via SMS will be shown as “via SMS” next to the timestamp so that users can always figure out the protocol used for each message delivery. Users can also request delivery reports for sent SMS, a feature that is part of the SMS protocol that some use on a daily basis.

MMS picture messaging is supported as well, though it cannot be confirmed sending of video via MMS at this time. There is a settings menu for wireless alerts as well as a toggle for auto-retrieving messages while roaming. Finally, users can opt out of SMS via Hangouts altogether.

The Voice protocol has still to be implemented into Hangouts, but nobody knows if there will be another update in the future which allows Hangouts to be able to “engulf” the Voice protocol as well.

There is no official confirmation at this point about a possible release timeline and correlation between KitKat and this Hangouts update. It’s possible that Google will roll it out before KitKat but it’s equally as possible for it to come out later if it’s not fully baked just yet.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Android Police.