Google Hangouts Comes with Some Cool Extras

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Google Hangout Effects

Google Hangouts Google Effects
Screen Capture

Google Plus or Google+ is Google's social networking effort, but a lot of the features have been broken into separate homes. Google Hangouts were originally just a feature of Google+ but Hangouts now behave like a separate app. 

Hangouts allow you to host a multi-user, live video chat. Google added a lot of experimental features like stickers, masks, and drawing tools. They were previously called "Google Hangouts with Extras" but are now known as "Google Effects." If you create a Google Hangout on the Air (A live YouTube-streaming video chat) you'll see these extra features (which are now called apps.) 

You don't get the extras with the standard Google Hangout. A standard Google Hangout at the time of this writing consists of:

  • Up to five simultaneous participants.
  • Participants can be using any combination of video, voice, or text chat.
  • Participants can be restricted among your Google Circles or open to the public. 

To launch a Google Hangout, you go to https://hangouts.google.com/

Google Effects

In order to get the extra features, you need to enable Google Effects.  

To launch Google Effects, you need to take a back door route into Google Hangouts.

  1. Instead of launching Google Hangouts through hangouts.google.com, go to https://g.co/hangouts,
  2. Google Effects and Google Drawings, and Screen Sharing, and a few other nifty features are available again.

Hooray. 

This is a workaround. It's taking you to an older version of Google Hangouts. As such, it may stop working at any time

Hangouts on the Air

Google Effects and all the other features are still there when you launch a Google Hangouts on the Air session. An alternative workaround is to:

  1. Launch a Google Hangouts on the Air session,
  2. Set it to private (delete the "public" invitation and only invite people you know)
  3. Never actually start the recording.