Today Google released a stand-alone Google Hangouts app. The app, which follows the same design principles from their previous iOS apps (this is a good thing) focuses on multi-platform communication. Of course, this communication has to be done via Google’s services.
The focus is squarely focused on group conversations and video calls. The groups conversation, like the many services that offer the same feature, allows you to communicate with people while using text, photos, emoji and more. You can also see when someone is replying to your message live on the app. The app gives you the ability to see who you are communicating with by integrating their AVI in the chat, a welcome feature that is sorely lacking on iMessages.
As far as video calls, you have the usual one-on-one live sessions as well as group video calls which puts the limit at 10 people. I really have to give it to Google here, they have outdone themselves with the video portion of Google Hangouts. It really is a great service that has changed the game (Skype who?).
Of course Google wants Google Hangouts to be fully integrated into Google +. This is just another creative way for the user to use their service so Google can boost of the growth of their weak social media service – even if you never step foot into those waters.
One cool feature I like is having the ability to block people who want to hangout with you. We all know a few social media whores who are always bugging you to “hangout”. Now, you can block them and never hear their pitiful attempts at romancing you with their charm (or lack thereof).
Outside of the group video feature, Google Hangouts does nothing to enhance the group communication service that is available on many of competing services and apps. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad app, it’s just another app. Google wasn’t the first service to the party, but they did invite themselves and they’ve brought along their own branded beer to the party.
Google Hangouts is free and available on the App Store.