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Google Adds Google+ Hangout Style Video-Conferencing to Gmail

July 31, 2012 | William Zimmerman

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet

Fred Brewin, a Google product manager, has just announced that Google is upgrading its Gmail and its closely allied Google Talk  instant-messaging, VoIP, and video-chat service to  "a more modern video calling technology -- Google+ Hangouts."

Google+ Hangouts enables up to ten people to talk in a video-conference at once. In addition, with Google+ Hangouts on Air you can also broadcast to a world-wide audience via YouTube.

Berwin stated that this new video-chat network will "deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. You'll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you'll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices."

To get the most from this new service, you'll need to join Google's social network, Google+ ( Berwin explained, "All Gmail users will benefit from this upgrade, but if you and the person you're chatting with also use Google+, you'll get even more from the Hangouts experience. You'll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen."

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