Here's an idea. Let's take that video chatting thing that people do all the time using Skype, Hangouts, or FaceTime, and remove the sound. Huh, Yahoo is already doing that?
Yup, and the service is called Livetext. Yahoo has been testing it in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Ireland. Now the tech company is bringing its intriguing communications platform to five additional countries. There's Canada and the US in North America. France, Germany, and the rest of the UK have joined Ireland in Europe.
In Yahoo's video of Livetext in action, you can see how each sentence you type appears at the bottom of a video feed of whomever you're chatting with.
Facebook Messenger is adding a feature that, if you didn't use it, you would expect to already have. With today's addition of video chat capability, it has parity with the desktop chat interface that has long supported this. As a server-side switch, you should have this available so long as you are using a reasonably new version of the app.
As you see in the image above, there is a camera icon at the top of the conversation that will initiate the video chat. You might also notice that Facebook is very proud that iOS and Android devices will be able to communicate with one another from the start.
Emoticons are nothing new for Skype or any other instant messaging client. Why, then, are they worth mentioning in version 5.3's changelog? Because now they're big. If you send a message containing only an emoticon, Skype will display a large version, complete with animation. Expressions appended to the end of a sentence, on the other hand, will continue to show up tiny.
While you're checking out these screenshots, also note the app's bubble style chat layout, which has now made its way over from other platforms to Android.
A few other changes have made it into this release. Conversations will no longer jump to the most recent message as it comes in, allowing you to more easily scroll up to read ongoing conversations.
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.
This has been possible on a standard desktop or Chrome OS device for a few months, but now it's enabled for Android connections as well.
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. You can even participate, if you feel so inclined.
Live chats on YouTube live streaming videos are nothing new, but they were previously reserved for the desktop browser version of the site.
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.
Other functional upgrades include a contextual tool system. This is sort of like Google Now for conversations: if the person you're chatting with should ask "where are you," you'll be given a temporary link to share your location with him or her.
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. The app lets users place calls, video chat, and send text messages using their home number regardless of whether they're anywhere near the house.
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. This means that it is promising 24/7 phone support and a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%. Hangout video meetings are also now able to support any Google Apps customer account, regardless of whether they're connected to a Google+ profile.