Google has recently announced a few new features for Hangouts on the desktop. Specifically, features that should make Hangouts nicer for those with a low or unreliable connection to the web. Needless to say, we could not help but think that these features would also be perfect on mobile devices.
As of today, Hangouts on the desktop have a bandwidth slider and an audio-only mode. Like we said, two features that sound like they would work well on mobile devices. While we suspect they may arrive for mobile in the future, Tim Blasi from Google did confirm that “today’s rollout is desktop only.” While we wait and hope, lets break down what each of these offer.
Beginning first with the bandwidth slider, this will appear on the top right of every hangout. This will be as simple as clicking the “adjust bandwidth usage” icon and moving the slider to the left or right. In total there are three options available with auto-detect being the default. Users can also slide to the left to enter the low speed or ultra low bandwidth modes. The low speed mode is said to use about 500Kbps in each direction and the ultra low mode will use 150Kbps on the upstream and 500Kbps on the downstream.
Aside from the bandwidth slider, the other setting that has arrived is audio only. This sort of plays on the lack of bandwidth and as the name implies — means you will not send or receive any video. Using the audio only mode means you will transfer about 35Kbps in either direction. At this time we have yet to receive confirmation these features will arrive on mobile, however we will be keeping an eye on the Google+ app in the Play Store.