Vic Gundotra has kicked off the “Morning with Google+” event this morning and one of the bigger portions here is Hangouts. This isn’t the only change coming to Google+ today, but there certainly is no mention of the Nexus 5 or Kit Kat. Of course, Google was pretty clear this was a Google+ event and nothing more.
Anyway, that being said, Gundotra has said Hangouts includes three parts and each of them will be updated today. Those three parts include Hangouts the app, the broadcast experience and video calls. New today in the Hangouts app will be location sharing, animated GIF support and SMS integration.
The location sharing will be as simple as tapping the place button at the bottom. The GIFs are just that, support for animated GIFs. And the last is the SMS integration, which basically means the Hangouts app now allows you to message over text (SMS) as well as chat and video.
Up next was the broadcast experience, aka, Hangouts on Air. This update means some new tools. Moving forward users will be able to plan a hangout, promote a hangout and also manage those hangouts. This includes a dedicated landing page that will help you promote and also new management tools that allow you to manage the hangout once it begins.
Lastly, Hangouts video calling. To start here, Google has said HD video is now on by default for all users. Other changes here include full screen video calls across devices and also some new tools — both to enhance and be creative. The enhancing will be similar to what we have with auto-awesome on the image side. Basically, this means you should soon see less silhouettes and more of the actual person. On the creative side, this will include the ability to have a black and white mode, a spotlight which blurs out the background and more.