Google +, introduced in late 2011, does not seem to have garnered a lot of popularity, despite having been around for one year. Now Google is apparently trying to correct this sorry state of affairs by introducing some exciting new nuggets, such as Google Hangout. Now they have announced some additional features for Hangout, which promise to make your chat experience even more fulfilling.
Google Hangout is a video chat service, but it is cooler than the existing Gtalk video chat, because it has group chat options, so a large number of people can participate together. Another awesome and new way, just released in March, in which Hangout is better than the earlier video chatting options on Google is that you don’t really need a webcam or even an internet device to participate, you just need a phone. So yeah, it lets you make phone calls as well. All local calls within the United States and Canada are free of cost, so this is great news for people who live in these two countries; it’s like an unlimited supply of free calls for them. Even for people living in other countries, the rate charged by Google+ is much lower than the rate at which leading telephone service providers offer their services in those countries. Check out how much a phone call through Google+ hangout will cost you in your country, from this international rate chart.
If you use Gtalk and have the the Google Voice and Video Plugin, you are probably aware of the Google Call Phone feature, even if you haven’t used it. So basically, Google+ took the Gtalk video chat, turned it from a one-to-one platform to a group chat tool, and latched on the Call Phone services as a bonus. Well, that’s three excellent features in one package so you won’t catch us complaining.
Hangout is browser based, so no matter which system or web browser you are on, you’ll be able to use it. Also, it is easy to use, and quite intuitive, so you don’t need any group conferencing knowledge to be able to use it. Plus, it has a really fun YouTube integration. The voice and video clarity is amazing, as is the connectivity and speed.
If you want to use Hangout to chat with your friends, all you need is an account with Google+, and the Voice and Video Plugin (the same one you needed for Gtalk Voice Chat). So have a great time chatting!