July 30, 2012

Another Step Toward Unification: Google+ Hangouts Fuse With Gmail (video)

We all knew that this would happen. That the day would come. It has been prophesied and foretold by monks, priests, soothsayers, and that guy on the street holding a cardboard sign. Why does Google need two separate messaging platforms (Google+ and Gmail)? They don't. And eventually, they won't (give it another 5 years, though). How do we know? The lines between Google+ and Gmail are rapidly blurring. Google+ and Gmail have already been sharing the same list of contacts, the same chat widget, the same Google Profile, the same pictures, and the same circles. Soon, they will also be sharing Hangouts, the multi-person video chat service that's been the shining star of Google+, differentiating it from all other social networks.

Like before, if two people are using Gmail, they can start a video chat. But now, if both of them have a Google+ account, they can chat not only with each other but with up to 8 other people at the same time. They can also use all of Hangouts' advanced features like watching YouTube videos together, editing Google documents together, and pasting funny mustaches on their faces. Now, the chat widgets in Google+ and Gmail work in nearly identical ways. It no longer matters whether your friend is in Gmail or in Google+, you can start a Hangout and invite a few buddies for up to 10 people total.