Google enables third-party apps in video Hangouts

Google hopes to bring innovation to Google+ video chats with an API and apps pane

Google has opened its Google+ Hangout service to third-party applications and is adding an apps menu to the video chat application to help people find them.

Google released a preview of the Hangout API (application programming interface) in September, but on Wednesday it made it much more appealing to developers by allowing them to share their apps with all Google+ users. It also released a button that developers can publish on a website that launches a Hangout session with their app running in it.

Hangout is the real-time group video chat application that's part of the Google+ social network.

The Hangout apps menu initially has a handful of third-party apps that include games and office-friendly services such as whiteboard- and slideshow-sharing. Users will need to download an app the first time they use it, unless they're entering through a start button coded into another website. The apps menu will subsequently show a list of recently used apps.

"Having an API around Hangout, while it's a small piece of technology, has broader implications because it really helps [Google] build yet another leg to stand on in terms of getting consumers, and potentially even enterprises at a later point, embedded with their platform and services," said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner.

Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst with the Altimeter Group, also saw the potential for Google to use an enriched Hangout platform to woo enterprises from competitors like WebEx.

If Hangout draws enough interest from developers, the video platform could enable Google+ to offer potentially richer social experiences than its number-one competitor, Facebook.

"Video adds a very intimate and engaging experience," said Blau. "It's somewhat different from typing your status or sharing a link with your friend or liking something."

Owyang said the ability to communicate in real time could also prompt users to spend more time on Google+, a metric in which the social network has thus far fared poorly. Visitors spent an average of three minutes per month on Google+ between January and February, compared to six or seven hours on Facebook, according to figures from comScore.

"People are dipping in and out of Facebook," he said. Because Google+ users tend to be more tech-savvy, Google "is probably playing to their strengths in that regard, with people who are always online."

The apps available now on Hangout are the Aces Hangout poker gameCacoo diagrams and whiteboardScoot & Doodle drawing appSlideshareClubhouse Challenge by Bravo and Google Effects.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cameron Scott

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?