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A visual refresh for Google+ Hangouts

When we launched Hangouts with Extras last September, we wanted to test new features and get feedback from users. We’ve learned a lot over the past few months, and today we’re rolling out a new Hangouts look and feel that incorporates some of the “extras,” and better reflects Google’s overall design (http://goo.gl/gG1NA). Highlights include:

- Screensharing: share what’s on your computer screen with everyone in the hangout. This is the first of many extras we’re graduating to Hangouts proper.

- Bigger video: we’ve put more emphasis on the live video itself by optimizing white space and other screen elements.

Check out the attached photos to preview some of the changes, and have fun hanging out!

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71 comments
 
I've been wanting screensharing. awesome.
Jim Cyr
 
looking forward on trying it out
 
Are the "old" extras like docs still there?
 
Would it be possible to add the "slow connection" option to Hangouts with extras?
 
This is great. Is there still a limit to number of participants (10)? Also how about calling phones feature like in Extras ?
 
Salute to all the Googlers working on hangouts. They're great!
 
Can you add a whiteboard as well as docs etc? Thanks :)
 
Hangouts with Extras is still active, but expect more of these extras to graduate to Hangouts over the coming months. See above.
 
+Christopher Johnson This is very cool. When hangouts with extras first launches you get the note that you can try them for a limited time. That made a lot of us wonder if the disclaimer meant that Google would start charging for use of the enhanced hangouts. Now I see that extras is a lab.
 
What we need back are the moustaches!
 
Not much reason left to use Skype, at this rate
 
Is is possible that me, as a regular non-famous person, could start a Hangout On Air, any time soon? I would like to stream my wedding ceremony with Google+ to all of my family and friends that certainly would not be able to assist. And they are more than 9 persons. Any options? Thanks
 
+Dan McDermott, I have seen this fifteen times so far. {: It is pretty awesome, but (as always) it makes me want more More MORE! Thank you for making sure. And thanks to +Christopher Johnson and the team for doing this!
 
+Felix Salazar There are several free workarounds to do that. With Ustream Producer (a free stripped down version of Wirecast) you can grab a screen of the hangout and stream it on Ustream and post that player. Not as sexy as On Air but would work fine. http://www.ustream.tv/producer
 
A commenter on the photos made a good point on the positioning of the thumbnails in hangouts. Has anybody tried putting them above the main video so that people will look higher and almost into the webcam, rather than down. Or has it been looked into and it doesn't make a difference?
 
not enabled for me just yet, but from the pictures that i'm seeing it looks good!
i hope, that the ability to name a hangout will be the next "extras" feature to be added to the regular hangouts :)
 
I'm looking forward to give this a go in a hangout.
 
Looks good! If it would just work on the Razr without microphone issues it would be amazing!
 
Hey Chris,
it would be awesome if you could drag and drop videos and other posts into the chat feature and hang outs.
 
Loved screensharing, maybe a quality throttle (high quality with lower framerate) would be better!
Keep the updates comming!
 
+Dan McDermott: Thanks. I was looking for something that I could use in my Linux laptop, but that would do the job. I keep the Windows 7 that came with the machine
 
better for sure, but it still lacks tablet support. my team uses iPads in the field and we would love to have meetings this way with them.
 
Thanks for the feedback all! Your suggestions and comments are important, and we read each one so keep them coming.
 
That just reminded me of something that i submitted feedback about a while ago:
I'm not sure what makes the "are you still there" thing pop up. (not talking maybe, or just after some 30 minutes?) anyways.
i don't think it should come up if you are active in the chat!
 
Agree with +Thorben Groth , also could you please add sound to the notification specifically the voice of the turrets from Portal.
 
/me wonders if Hangouts could ever divorce itself from Flash.
 
Are you still there is completely time based. It doesn't check for any activity (or lack of it).
 
okay, so my suggestion is to make it activity based.
i see how there might be a problem with background noise, when analysing the audio, but you could do facetracking for the video, and as i said earlier, activity in the chat..
 
Brilliant! i love the screen sharing, its super helpful when diagnosing error messages when helping people with various linux problems :D
 
Yeah, being able to name these ones would be really nice. Also being able to disable the awake check. Me and my friends are gamers and it gets annoying getting kicked out all the time.
 
Well done G-team! If you have a problem... if no one else can help... and if you can find them. Maybe you can hire... The G- Team
 
+Kurt Bendl Considering in the near future HTML5 in Chrome will support Webcams, Microphones, and other input devices it wouldn't surprise me if G+ Hangout's went plugin-less in the next few months. With Google Chrome and full HTML5 support there is no longer a need for a plugin Video Conferencing.
 
Nice to see this go live. Now to add an option to disable auto-adjusting of my mic volumes.
 
Tried it today with coworkers and the extras part was great!
 
Anyone find a way to change cookies to get this now? Similar to how they did it with YouTube and the new Google Bar.
 
yup but whats up with twitter and google social search? I just tried @feedbook its little bit frisky ...
 
Justhow does one get rid of this "what's hot on google+"? This is coming across like an illegal squatter bargiong in without permission and without any simple recourse to turning it off.

Is there a simple way to get rid of it from my G+ stream?
 
Can you tell me if Hangout is still using Vidyo technology? I've been impressed with its ability to deliver high quality video even with substantial packet loss. When all in our group acquired reasonable cameras and good headsets, Hangout became a great way to communicate. Thanks!
 
i haven't use G+ Hangouts yet =(, if some one wanna try just let me know :)
 
GotoMeeting and WebEx are going to hate this.
 
The other day I was trying to video conference from a computer to a smart phone and it was not co-operating, from what I could tell it wanted me to go from a phone to a phone or a computer to a computer, but not from a computer to a phone. Any suggestions oh how to do this or if this problem will be addressed?
 
restore webcam resolution please, I have a HD webcam but the resolution is VGA like, in previous hangout my resolution was good, not it's crappy.
 
Congrats, Christopher! Screen sharing is a great addition to Hangouts. Any plans to add a record button?
 
when will we see mobile hangouts??
 
They're there in Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and in the g+ messenger app for Iphone. Try it out! : )
 
didnt realize there was another google + app
 
+Drew Walsh How do you use the hangouts during gaming? You have it open in the background while playing something or you play something on a console?
 
What about the record feature? I still can't activate it. It would be the greatest thing on planet for our podcast
 
+Christopher Johnson Is the update in the advanced version of hangouts rolled out too?
If I start the normal hangout I see the new UI. If I start the hangout with advanced options I see the old UI. - location in Germany
 
Most of us have dual monitors and just have it open on the side.
 
+Ryo Cook - The broadcast features of Hangouts ON AIR are rolling out slowly and are currently white list only.

+Frank Schulz - I wouldn't think of Hangouts with Extras as the advanced version of Hangouts, it is merely a place for test out some new features and ideas that might not be ready for prime time. We like it because it gives the community time to react to the product and we can then evolve the designs to incorporate the feedback.

Hangouts works in the mobile version of the g+ app for iPhone and Android 2.3 and higher (if you have a front facing camera). There are probably some more specific requirements so your results might vary. More info here: http://goo.gl/0R8Oq
 
+Christopher Johnson, I'd love to share this feature with my friends to encourage them to try G+ and Hangouts, but I'm having trouble finding a page that highlights Hangouts and its major features. Is there a features/promo page that I can reference?
 
Meh... we can do better. :) There's so many features (especially in extras) that aren't even mentioned there... plus, it's just one item out of several on the page. Say I'm trying to tell someone why Hangouts might be useful to them...and this page just doesn't capture it. It makes me want to go write my own promo page for Hangouts.
 
Hi all, is there a way to have screen shared as well as video output webcam embedded, perhaps in a little box in a corner?
 
So is there any estimate of when screensharing will be enabled? I would LOVE to switch from Ustream, but screensharing is a MUST!
 
+Wolf Mandraagora you mean screensharing at the same time as showing your camera feed? Or just screensharing. If the latter, it's already possible.
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