Hangouts video chats are pretty good in terms of handling multiple up and down streams, but the invitation and verification system leaves a lot to be desired - there's something of a traffic jam when we start the Android Police podcast video, for example. Today Google is making that a little easier by allowing mobile users to join a Hangouts video session with a simple invitation link, instead of needing an explicit, personal invitation via the Hangouts/Google+ system.
If you're a regular Android Police reader, you probably don't need any "sales assistance" when picking out a new phone, tablet, or laptop - pretty much everything you could want to know is just a web search away. But some people appreciate the personal touch, which is why those guys in the blue shirts at Best Buy still have jobs. To help out these sorts of shoppers, Google is offering live video chat assistance for hardware shoppers on the Play Store.
It looks like the latest release of the YouTube app for Android has at least one more trick up its sleeve that escaped our notice in the APK Teardown. Reader Dan saw that when he opened up a live streaming video in the Android app, there was a new "Live Chat" option at the bottom. Tap the up arrow or slide the bar to the top of the window, and you can read the live chat going on in the YouTube channel.
Google just announced its biggest update to the Hangouts Android app in some time, introducing a bevvy of features not seen before on the platform. In terms of utility, the biggest addition is probably confirmed phone numbers: like competing SMS-style message services, this will allow people who know you to search for your Google+/Hangouts profile with your cell phone number. It's an addition to the app that will be particularly useful to international users, who are used to this kind of contact lookup.
In this day and age, people increasingly dial a phone number expecting to reach you, not your house. As long as land lines are tied to a traditional phone, there's no way of knowing who's going to pick that thing up when it starts ringing, and people waiting on a call have to hover in the vicinity in order to hear it go off.
With Phone 2 Go, Time Warner Cable is giving customers the tools to free themselves from these restraints.
Hangouts may be fun, but it's not all fun and games. It should come as no surprise that in this day and age, many people turn to Google's video chats as a means of getting work done. So the company is rolling out a number of business-related improvements to the service.
For starters, the company is now covering Hangouts under the same terms of service as other Google Apps for Business products.
It's 2013, and chances are that someone has asked you to make a Skype video chat at some point or another. This isn't too all-consuming on PCs, where a user can fire up their webcam and tuck the Skype client away in the corner. Anyone using an Android device, on the other hand, has had to devote the entire screen to the conversation. But thanks to the latest Skype update, many of us will be freed from the burden of giving a video chat our undivided attention, as we will now have the ability to tuck the entire session away into the corner.
It's been a long time coming, but Google's distributed video advice service is finally live. Helpouts is a video chat service with a Google backbone, built on the interface and servers of Hangouts. But this is no mere chat service: it's designed specifically for users to connect with and learn from experts in their respective field. You can access the videos from the web or, naturally, the Android app.
Since you'll be connecting with individuals and companies that are ostensibly experts, you'll have to pay them for their time, either on a minute-by-minute basis or in a session fee.
If case you don't remember, Google announced Helpouts back in August. It's a different take on Hangouts where experts can make their assistance available via a video chat session for a fee or free of charge. Google has been laying the groundwork for a public rollout of the service, but no dates have been made official. We've been passed some information by a trusted source that says November 5th is the big day – that's just one week away.
Some of you may have already noticed that your Hangouts video looked significantly clearer the last time you fired it up. That's because Google has transitioned from the H.264 video codec to VP8, and with it, the company has introduced HD streaming. Google started rolling out the change to users in the last few weeks, but it will still be a while before this rolls out to everyone.
Google introduced VP8 back in 2010 as an open and royalty-free format allowing users to watch video in browsers without the need for any additional plugins.