Google Gives Hangouts Its Own Place To Hang
Google launches a dedicated desktop page for its free communication tool.
Continuing the trend of product independence from Google+, Google Hangouts now has a dedicated website.
This week, Google launched hangouts.google.com, a site that offers all the usual Hangout features, including voice and video calls and text chat.
Previously, desktop users of Google’s free communication tool could use the Hangout Chrome app or access it through the Gmail and Google+ interfaces.
All of those options remain. The new page merely gives the product a landing spot of its own, with a cleaner look that includes rotating wallpaper images, some of which are photos shared publicly on Google+. The call and chat buttons are displayed prominently in the middle of the page.
This move is similar to Facebook’s creation of a desktop home for Messenger several months ago. It also can be seen as a continuation of Google’s decoupling of features originally tied to Google+, or at least giving users options that don’t require the use of the company’s social network.
In May, it split off its popular Photos feature into a separate app. Last month, it eliminated the requirement to use Google+ to sign into other Google services, including YouTube.
Google has recently made other improvements to Hangouts. Last week, it released a new Android app with streamlined contacts, faster message delivery and improved battery life. Such features had already been implemented on the iOS app.
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