GMail users are now able to video chat with up to ten of their contacts, thanks to a new integration of Google+ Hangouts. The group video chat platform replaces Google Talk’s video chat, and is part of Google’s efforts to merge all of its messaging products.

hangouts office hours

Google took a first big step Monday towards unifying all its messaging products by integrating Google+ Hangouts directly into GMail. The group video chat will replace the traditional 1:1 video calling experience offered by Google Talk. From the announcement blog post:

“Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. While all Gmail users will experience these benefits, if you’ve created a Google+ profile you can invite up to nine other participants to your video meetings and take advantage of advanced features like screen sharing and integrated Google Docs collaboration.”

That being said, people will still be able to make video calls with Hangouts if they haven’t signed up for Google+ yet, but they’re going to be presented with a light version of the Hangouts client that only allows 1:1 video calling. The new feature will be rolled out to personal GMail accounts first, and then come to Google apps accounts in the coming weeks.

Google representatives first mentioned at last month’s Google I/O conference that the company was working on merging its various messaging, voice and video products. Making these products more appealing and less confusing to consumers is an obvious reason for this step, but Google is also working on advancing the core technology of its voice and video messaging clients. The next generation of Hangouts will be powered by WebRTC, which will make it possible to use video chat directly in the browser without the need for any plug-in.

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  1. Adam Kazwell Monday, July 30, 2012

    Hangouts are taking over

  2. Hangouts is the video calling portion, but what about the messaging portion? Is Gtalk also getting combined with Google+ messenger?

    1. I think that is eventually what they want to do, but I doubt we will see any progress on that front this year.

  3. Reblogged this on projectz and commented:
    Now it needs to Unify Google+ and Google Drive..

  4. I still want a messenger like yahoo instant messenger but made by google…. can we please just buy yahoo?

  5. Next big step should be, being able to turn off “this person hung out with this person” I don’t want my friends to know that I call this person or that person this many times, thats annoying. Also they had this unique app for chrome “chat for google” lets you use chat across all windows rather then just email. which they need to upgrade. As well should be able to forward calls to tablets, or smartphones, rather to just to gmail thanks getting a bit annoying also.

  6. Please implement it on the Google Talk android app… And merge it somehow with chat+

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