Jan 12, 2012
One of Google+’s defining features has been Hangouts, allowing users to video chat with up to 9 other people simultaneously. The mobile apps finally received this functionality a few months ago, but only in the ability to join Hangouts that already were started from traditional computer-based clients. However, Google has recently added this functionality to the Messenger section of Google+, finally allowing mobile users to start video chatting with their circles. It works by starting up a Messenger group, inviting selected contacts, then selecting the camera option in the top right corner. This starts a Hangout, which other users can join by tapping the Hangout notification in the chat conversation. This works cross-platform, across computers, Android devices, and iOS. Messenger still supports the sending of photos in messages as well, and non-Google+ members can be invited to Messenger, though they will need to sign up for Google+ before hanging out. The updates for Android and iOS are available now; Gingerbread is required for use of Hangouts on Android. Motorola Xoom owners should note that it appears as if the microphone does not work for Hangouts, despite working for Google Talk video chat.