Google to enable Hangouts video calls in every status update

14 Dec 2011

Google is in its own words “going beyond the status update” by introducing Hangouts videoconferencing capabilities within every post on Google+ as well as “broadcast and record” functionality. It is also bringing Hangouts to iPhone and Android devices.

Google’s head of engineering Vic Gundotra has just announced in a Google+ post that after a trial involving hundreds ‘Hangouts on Air’ is going out around the world.

Gundotra revealed that Google is bringing Hangouts to Google+ Messenger on mobile devices.

The new Google+ app will be available in Android Market within a few days, and it’s coming soon to the App Store.

In addition Google+ will be introducing ‘broadcast and record’ functionality to Hangouts.

Google is making making Hangouts On Air completely self-service, so users can broadcast whenever they’re in the mood. In addition Hangouts On Air will be integrating with YouTube, so once you’re off the air, it will upload a full-length (and private) recording to your account.

Calls around the world – Google takes another swipe at Skype

Realising that not everyone has a video camera but that phones are universal Google is also making it possible to dial-in anyone, from almost any country, directly into your Hangout. Calls to the US and Canada are free, and Google has set new international call rates that strongly indicate its plans to take on Microsoft-owned Skype.

Writing on his Google+ post, Gundotra said: “Hundreds of people (who we have whitelisted as part of our trial) can now broadcast their hangouts to the entire world for free completely self-service. “Our goal is to enable this for everyone on the planet. We are making it possible for you to start hangouts from messenger on Android or iPhone devices.

“You can call any phone number in the world and conference in anyone,” Gundotra said.


Gundotra said: “One of the most intimate forms of human connection is eye contact. Our digital tools have given us new forms – text messages, email, status updates – but nothing compares to the richness and intensity of looking into someone’s eyes as they talk.

“Our emphasis on face-to-face group video communication has lead to some amazing experiences. By giving this away for free, we’ve enabled people around the world to see into each others’ eyes and share discussion and laughter in new ways,” he added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years