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Google+ is now open for everyone, has been in trial for the past 90 days, dishing out limited signups and limited invites for users as it hones its social engine. Google announced numerous updates to Google+ and revealed that Hangouts will be coming soon to iOS. Google is rolling out a host of new features to Hangouts, the videoconferencing service in Google+ and Google is now making Hangouts available to mobile devices running Android version 2.3 and later that have front-facing cameras……………….

 

Google integrated its flagship search engine into its 3-month old social network with membership now open to the Internet public and expanded its Hangouts video-chat feature to allow mobile use and broadcasting. Hangouts uses live video to bring people together, face-to-face-to-face and the community has shaped and stretched the feature in amazing ways from cooking classes to game shows to music concerts. Google determined to keep this momentum going and to keep providing new ways to communicate in-person, so they hope you enjoy this week’s round of Hangouts improvements. In life, Google+ connect with others in all sorts of places, at all different times and the connections you make unexpectedly are often the ones you remember the most. Hangouts launching on your mobile phone and to get started, simply find an active hangout in the Stream, and tap Join:

 

Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras and iOS support is coming soon. The new mobile app is rolling out to Android Market, so you can start hanging out at any time, from just about anywhere and Google+ users already use Hangouts to create intimate onscreen experiences with family members, prayer groups, even people with certain medical conditions. But sometimes you want to speak to a large audience, or alternatively, view as a spectator. In these cases a public broadcast is what’s needed, so today we’re introducing Hangouts On Air.  The setup is simple enough: just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re On Air, up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual) and anyone can watch your live broadcast:

 

 

Spending time together goes hand in hand with actually doing things together. Dinner with family can easily turn into movie night at the local theater, for instance. And running into old friends can inspire anything from photo sharing to vacation planning. Hangouts has always included a basic set of in-room actions (like group chat and co-viewing of YouTube videos), but Google want to make it easier to do a lot more. That’s why we’re previewing some extras, including:

  • Screensharing: for when you want to show off your vacation photos, your high score, your lesson plan or whatever else is on your screen
  • Sketchpad: for when you want to draw, doodle, or just scribble together
  • Google Docs: for when you want to write, plan or present something with others
  • Named Hangouts: for when you want to join or create a public hangout about a certain topic (like fashion or music or sports…) 

 

The extras are still under construction, but Google wanted to preview these features and get your feedback sooner versus later. If field trial has taught us anything about Hangouts, it’s that the community is overflowing with creative individuals. So in the wake of last week’s Google+ API launch, they’re also releasing a basic set of Hangouts APIs. If you’re a developer who wants to build new kinds of apps and games, then you can find more details on the Google+ platform blog. Google also bringing Google’s search expertise to Google+, just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box and Google will return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web. If you’re into photography, then you’ll see other enthusiasts and lots of great pictures. If you care more about cooking, then you’ll see other chefs and food from around the globe. In all cases, Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news.

 

With more than 1 billion items shared and received every day, Google excited to see how search will connect people through their posts on Google+. For the past 12 weeks Google have been in field trial and during that time they’ve listened and learned a great deal. Google nowhere near done, but with the improvements they have made so far they are ready to move from field trial to beta and introduce their 100th feature: open signups.

 

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