Today, Google introduced a new app for one of its most popular products, Hangouts. While Hangouts let you chat with multiple people over video, there are those moments when someone makes a funny face, does something ridiculous or just makes you want to, well, capture something.
This is a feature that is making its way into mobile devices, meaning the ability to shoot video and snap pics along the way. There are so many fantastic still moments that take place during a 10-minute video conversation, and now you can grab them as they come. This is also a nice way for Google to help its users generate content while they’re generating content, without even making a real effort.
Here’s what Google’s Jeremy Ng said about the feature today:
The challenge, oftentimes, is capturing your favorite moments as they happen, so today we’re introducing the new Hangouts Capture app. With it you can take pictures of your Hangouts-in-progress, including a number of features not available in the usual screenshot workarounds:
– Once you’ve opened the Hangouts Capture app, you can snap photos of your Hangout view with a single click
– All photos are saved to a shared album, visible only to other Hangout invitees
– You can view these photos while inside the Hangout, when browsing your photo albums, or by visiting the original Hangout post
– And, importantly, you’ll always know when the app is in use: when you join a Hangout, when someone opens the app, and whenever a picture is taken
The Hangouts Capture app will soon be available worldwide, so look for it the next time you join a Hangout. Together with Effects, YouTube and other apps, we hope you’ll find Hangouts an even better way to make memories together.
Here’s what the flow looks like for snapping a pic of that special moment:
The design itself is simple, and looks like the default camera app in Android or iOS. Simply open the app, wait for the right moment, then snap the picture. You could take quite a few of these stills and then go back later to share the best in your stream after the Hangout is over. As Ng pointed out, everyone in the Hangout will know when someone has the app open and when a picture is taken, so there won’t be any surprises. I’ve personally used tools like Skitch to take snapshots during a Hangout, so it’s nice to know that I don’t need any external tools anymore.
The fact that the photos make their way into a shared album with the rest of the participants without you having to do the work is another example of Google’s technology getting out of the way of something you’d want to do naturally and seamlessly.
Recently, a company focused on creating a Google+ Hangout app called Scoot and Doodle raised $2.5 million, which shows that the social platform is making progress, has grabbed the attention of a nice set of users and does have huge growth potential within Google’s suite of other products. The other nice thing about Scoot and Doodle is that the app is for families, specifically kids, and is focused on learning. That’s why you’ll see Hangouts woven into most of Google’s advertising and promotional material from here on out.
All of this builds up to Google telling its complete story, from Search to Social. This is a story that most people haven’t picked up on yet, the fact that Google is now marrying all of its products under one umbrella. There’s nobody to blame for that but Google, however, since Larry Page stepped in as CEO, this is the most complete picture of Google as a company that we’ve ever seen. Is it perfect? No. Does it all make sense yet? Absolutely not. There are still questions as to why a public company that generates so much revenue from ads would be working on a pair of glasses or a self-driving car, but these are things that will only make sense when all of the products work together seamlessly.
Hangouts illustrates that; you’ll probably end up seeing a big fat Hangout button in a Google search result one day for a company who is using the platform to do customer service or meet its clients.
[Photo credit: Flickr]