Not to load you up on Google news today or anything, but in addition to the launch of Google’s new Activity Reports this morning, the company is also announcing the arrival of some of its first fully featured apps for Google+ Hangouts.
For the most part, the starter set of Hangout apps are designed for having fun and playing games with others, save for the addition of +SlideShare and +Cacoo. Arguably the two most practical new arrivals, SlideShare’s app lets Google+ users view presentations, documents and videos together, while +Cacoo supports wire-framing, mind-mapping and collaborative diagramming.
Hangouts, for those still uninitiated with Google+ lingo, are the multi-person video chats that can support up to 10 participants at a time. No matter what you may think of the social network, and Google’s change in strategy to support it, Hangouts can be thought of as one of Google+’s saving graces. It would have made for a killer standalone product.
In any event, Google’s announcement today (via Google+ post, no doubt) indicates that the first few third-party Hangout apps are finally available to try. These will be found within the Hangout itself, and can be accessed by clicking the new “Apps” button. Hangouts will be also be sorted into “Featured” and “Recent” groups here.
The full list of new Hangout Apps includes:
1) +Aces Hangout, for playing poker with friends, face-to-face-to-face
2) Clubhouse Challenge by +Bravo, for testing your pop culture IQ against other teams
3) +Cacoo, for wire-framing, mind-mapping and diagramming with others
4) Google Effects, for trying on headwear, eyewear or facial hair
5) +Scoot & Doodle, for drawing and coloring with the people you care about
6) +SlideShare, for co-viewing presentations, docs and videos
We covered Aces Hangout back while it was in testing, as it looked then like one of the more promising uses for the Hangouts technology. The app connects users to play a real world game of poker, and, thanks to the real-time video streams, users have to actually keep a poker face, so as not to give away their attempt at bluffing.
Today, however, there are a few more apps that look interesting – like the Draw Something-esque Scoot & Doodle - but the ones that may have the most potential are those that let users collaborate on work: SlideShare and Cacoo. In the SlideShare app, for example, users don’t just view an embedded slideshow, they can actually watch as someone gives a presentation of that show, switching between the presenter and slide itself at will.
Google says that Hangouts API has been available publicly since last September, but today is the first time that those apps can actually be accessed by anyone in the world.
A post on the Google+ Developer blog today informs us that the API is now also moving out of preview mode, allowing developers to launch and share apps with the entire Google+ community. Developers can post links to their apps directly on Google+ to get the word out and they can add a new “hangout button” to their website, in order to promote their app.
You can see the full list of new apps here.
A Google project headed by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz, Google+ is designed to be the social extension of Google. Its features focus on making online sharing easy for users. “Circles,” think social circles, akin to Facebook’s lists. “Sandbar,” a user-unifying toolbar. “Sparks,” a search engine for sharing content between users. “Messenger,” a group messaging app that allows users to share with certain “Circles.” “Hangouts,” group video chatting designed to allow up to 10 users video chat at once. Each Google+ user can replace his...