Google+'s group video chat
Hangouts has some nice updates rolling out in the next few days. Most significant among them is that it's coming to G+ mobiles apps. Least significant? Virtual antlers and a red nose for your head.
Hangouts' coming to mobile devices will be a welcome addition. Free, cross-platform group video chatting in your pocket? Yeah, I'll take that. The updated Google+ Android app will be rolling out in the next few days, and the iOS version will be coming "soon".
Stepping away from mobile, there are some other nice features, like the ability to dial-in to a Hangout. This could be really great for families who are separated for the holidays. Not everyone has video chat capabilities (and your grandparents may not be able to figure it out), so it's a cool way to facilitate a group conversation—assuming it's not too laggy. Dial-ins are free for the U.S. and Canada and use Google Voice's relatively low rates for international calls. Hangouts are also a lot easier to join, with the capability to post/respond directly from a comment in a post or from the sidebar.
Finally, last month for Movember, Hangouts enabled you to put a virtual moustache on yourself. This month, it's antlers and a red nose. Yes, it's dumb and useless but so are most things that are fun. All of these are nice improvements, but I'll say this: showing Hangouts working as smoothly as they are in the video above is dangerously close to false advertising, because there is no friggin' way that's possible. [Official Google Blog via Techmeme]