Demand for video conferencing tools has skyrocketed in recent months, and Facebook has played a relatively minor role in that space despite owning two leadingmessaging apps. Taking steps to mend that, the social media giant introduced Messenger Rooms last month for a more casual video chat experience with small groups. After expanding the service to a worldwide audience, Facebook is now rolling out its integration in WhatsApp, starting in the newest beta.
Video conferencing is in extraordinarily high demand as the coronavirus pandemic keeps us all at home, and Google is taking the opportunity to improve Google Meet (until recently known as Hangouts Meet). The service will get new Gmail integrations and a Zoom-style layout, and the changes start rolling out today.
Since Google decided to split Hangouts into separate apps for chat and calls with a renewed focus on business users, the video conferencing app Meet has coexisted with good old Hangouts video. As of May 21st, that will no longer be the case and Meet will take over all face-to-face communications when a meeting is scheduled in Google Calendar.
Back in March, Google split Hangouts into two separate apps - 'Meet' for video conferences, and 'Chat' for Slack-style company messaging. In a new blog post, Google revealed the 'Hangouts Meet hardware kit,' designed to get companies up and running with Hangouts Meet for their boardrooms or other meeting locations.
Hangouts may not be as ubiquitous as Skype, but as Google sells more devices, people are increasingly turning to the company's built-in method of video chatting. Today the search giant announced an addition to the desktop Hangouts experience that we Android users may encounter as we hop from our phones to our laptops. Now when users share their screens, others can view it in fullscreen.
Google says the video will use as much visible area as possible. Attendee thumbnails will overlay the content at the bottom of the screen, and a new button will appear on the control bar that allows viewers to hide these images and focus entirely on the presentation.
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.