September 20, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Another popular feature from the Google+ social network has trickled down to the Google+ Android app. Hangouts, the group video chat platform that allows up to 10 friends to communicate with each other, is now supported in the latest version of the G+ Android app.
Google VP Vic Gundotra made the announcement a short while ago, confirming that Hangouts are available for devices running Android 2.3 or higher and have a front-facing camera. Just like the desktop version, users will see when their contacts are in a hangout, and tapping the “Join Hangout” button will enable the user to appear from their phone. Buttons at the bottom of the screen allow users to mute their microphone, switch to their rear camera, or turn off their front-facing camera.
The Android Market should show an update available at some point today. I’ll be back later with impressions once I’m able to download the app on my EVO. From the looks of things, users can’t actually start a Hangout from their device, but they can join an active stream.
It will be interesting to see how effective Hangouts prove on the mobile experience. The great aspect about the desktop was that the camera quickly switched to users who were talking since software could recognize changes. Network speed might get in the way of that working efficiently on phones and tablets based on my experience with Fring’s Playgrounds, so we’ll see soon.