Google+ continues to buzz along nicely and today the social platform rolled out a new interface for Hangouts. Hangouts is one of the biggest features for the social network and allows users to start or even broadcast live, a group video chat with up to nine other people.
The new interface brings with it much needed changes including a much more sleek and simple look. When you click the big “Start a hangout” button on the top right hand side of Google+, it’ll open up a window which is pretty much exactly the same start screen as before.
From there, you can select who to invite, what to call it, if you want to make it a Hangout On Air which will be live streamed and recorded straight to your YouTube account, and choose if you want to restrict minors from joining and set a specific language.
Once you’ve invited others, the new interface makes itself known. Instead of the group chat being on the left hand side and quick access to apps along the top, the group chat window has moved over to the right hand side, while apps are now displayed in a column down the left hand side.
As in the past version of the platform, when you scroll over someone’s video thumbnail, you can choose to either mute or block them. Also, the “Invite People” button is displayed prominently in the app column.
Access to basic controls such as mute microphone, mute webcam, settings (where you can select which microphone or webcam to use), and exit, are still in the same location on the very top right hand side. This time, the icons have been refreshed with a new look.
With apps now in a column down the left hand side, sometimes you might want to collapse them to have more real estate. On the top left hand side, you’ll see a column icon which allows you to collapse the apps column.
To see other apps that are installed, simply click “View more apps” and to explore other apps that can be installed, click “Add apps”. The add apps page remains untouched and if you find an app you want to install, simply click on its icon and then select “Allow access” in the pop-up window.
Google+ Hangouts continue to be a great feature for connecting with others and with this new refresh, is sure to be welcomed by the 100 million monthly active users.