The Hangouts option on Google + is one popular feature since it allows social media users to voice chat without actually logging into another account. With Hangout, Google also hopes to give Skype some competition, more importantly since it is now owned by rival firm Microsoft.
And in a bid to draw more users into Hangout, Google has announced that it will release the API for Hangout thus ensuring that developers can have more fun with Hangouts, making it them capable of running social apps.
In a blogpost, describing the new functionality Google said:
The Google+ Hangouts API allows you to develop collaborative apps that run inside of a Google+ Hangout. Hangout apps behave much like normal web apps, but with the addition of the rich, real-time functionality provided by the Hangouts APIs. Apps have the ability to control aspects of the user interface, synchronize data between hangout participants, and respond to various events in the hangout.
So what will this mean for users? Video chatting with your friends is all set to get more interactive. Also (if you’re tech savvy enough) you can download the original source code and create your own app to run with Hangout.
TheNextWeb reports that a number of such apps have already been created, and focus on one called, Scoot and Doodle, which allows users to doodle together while ‘hanging out’ with their friends. “The cool part about Scoot & Doodle is that multiple people can draw at the same time, which makes a game like tic-tac toe”, says the website. Business Insider mocked this one as the silliest apps, but we feel it’s quite a cute idea.
Other apps available include Clubhouse Challenge, by Bravo TV where pop culture fans can take trivia quizzes together.
While interactive apps could change the way people interact on video conferences, the big question will always be how much information is Google going to get via the apps.
Skype, uses peer-to-peer or P2P technology which means the video connection is perfectly secure but it means that more than two people in a chat can cause delays in the conversation.
In Hangouts, Google uses a client-server model which “leverages the power of Google’s infrastructure.” So when it comes to Hangout, Google still has access to all the information you share in your video chat.