Google announced today a pretty major deal with the NFL which will help it to virally grow adoption of Google+ Hangouts – the live chat feature on its social networking efforts known as Google+. With a full rollout coming later this month, NFL.com will soon be offering one-click access to Google+ Hangouts, allowing fantasy football players to video chat with their league in real-time. This is big news not just for Google+ itself, but also for the NFL.com website, since it means that players from all over get to have the same experience of hosting live draft parties and meetups, even when they’re too far to travel back and forth between people’s houses.
Hangout members can also chat, perform trades, or host other meetings via the feature, which later this month will include a live indicator on NFL.com/fantasy that indicates whether or not anyone in your league is online and hanging out. And the feature will work from the Google+ Android and iOS apps, too, says Google.
The ability to embed a Hangout on a webpage is not new functionality – Google upgraded its Hangouts on Air offering this May to allow anyone to broadcast their live Hangout to YouTube or on their own website, for example. But the functionality that Google and the NFL are teaming up on is slightly different – it’s not about broadcasting to an audience, it’s about connecting a group of friends. (Or rivals, as the case may be.)
Google+ Hangouts is probably the standout feature from Google+ in many people’s eyes, as it offers real-time video chat with up to 10 people for free. Google recently even smooshed the thing into Gmail.
The new functionality will be available on www.nfl.com/fantasyfootball, for those ready to build their leagues.