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Private messages in Hangouts, our intern experiment

+Mairin Chesney and I are interns at Google Kirkland on the Google+ Hangouts team. We’re about to head back to school, but before we do, we want you to see what we've been working on!

Back at school, we’re almost always paying full attention to the professor. No, really. We mean it! (Hi, Mom! :)). But once in a while... a private note gets passed. Not by us, mind you. We just noticed other folks doing it. We had the thought, “Hangouts need private messages!” So that’s what we did!

Now you don’t have to pass secret notes under the desk. If you’re in a Hangout with a group of people, but you want to make a comment to just one of them, simply type “/to [their name] [your message]”. You don’t need to type their full name, just enough so that it’s not ambiguous who you mean. Type “/users” to see the nicknames you can use for each person in the Hangout.  

We also made it easy for you to reply. Click the Reply link on a private message and go! 

We’ve had a wonderful summer here at Google, and we’re excited to bring retro commands to a new generation.  

It’s an experimental feature rolling out over the next couple hours, so be sure to comment and let us know what you think!

+Anthony Tordillos and +Mairin Chesney  


pssst... try "/help" for more. 
Matt Sargent's profile photoSafae Elkourtbi's profile photoLee Spicer's profile photoKobe Tran's profile photo
Ahh! I love /commands! :D Great new feature. Way to go.
+Paschalis Mpeis, if you open the photo there should be a button in the lower right corner to collapse the comments and expand the photo. You can also click the 'Slideshow` button in the lower left to view the image full-screen :)
You can also just do a regular chat off to the side, that's what we usually do.
If you want to get more fun, add a /exclude Name feature so you can send a semi "private" message to everyone but Name.

Feature suggestion brought to you courtesy of icb, developed in 1989.
Fantastic feature.
Talking about moving the social interactions in a classroom into the digital world. This is it.
Great idea, step by step the Hangout/Hangout on Air conquers the world:) 
Nice work!  Good luck with things, since I won't be back when you guys leave.  Hope you had a great internship!
Nice!!! I've had a lot of private chats going on while being in a full hangout. Now i don't need to focus on several tabs / screens anymore :)
Nice work! Please consider greater compatibility with irc commands, ie /msg instead of /to.
Thanks +Daniel Carr! We actually support both '/msg' and '/to', but felt that '/to' would be more intuitive for those unfamiliar with IRC, so that's the one we highlighted in the post.
I love this, +Anthony Tordillos!  My weekly Tea Salon hangouts have a lot of side-chatter from person to person that actually distracts people talking--great addition that should keep people more on track!  :)
Love it... terrific work! Already rave reviews in Hangouts I've attended.
Oh that's really cool then :)
Be there NOW. Be part of things NOW. Be your originar now NOW.
Way to go!
good idea, although I feel it is kind of obvious. Surprised it wasn't implemented before.
Great work!

But I think it is kind of dangerous if there is no visual confirmation before we send out the private message. That is, let the user surely knows that when the send button is pressed, this message will be sent privately to the designated person.

Consider the following situation: if by mistake I typed a space between the slash and to:

"/ to Anthony, don't believe him, I think he is lying!"

This message will not be considered as a private message, of course. But will it be sent out publicly, instead? If it will, many embarrassing situations are likely to happen...
hi your looks so beautiful & intellgent also
None of this is Idiot Friendly, and I'm an idiot with anything digital, Oh well.
seriously, it's notworking, goddamn it
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