Google Hangouts on the web gets a new interface for video calls, performance improvements and more
Back in August, Google launched an individual website for its instant messaging service Hangouts, to rival Facebook’s “Messenger”.
The new website offers pretty much the same features that the Gmail’s and Google+’s mini version of hangouts does.
But it is quite a decent website, to make video calls, or to chat with your friends without the distraction of emails and social posts. The Mountain View company has made the website even better with some changes announced today.
Google Hangouts on the web now has a new interface, which has been streamlined for video calls. Cosmetic changes aren’t the only thing new, since the Mountain View company has also made some behind the scenes improvements to Hangouts on the Web. The video chatting service will now render videos more sharply and remain crisp.
Google says that it has improved the loading speed for the Hangouts website. Observe the image featured above, and you will notice that it clearly has the word beta. Google engineer, Eduardo Fernández, who announced the changes along with the picture, says that the company has been testing the new UI internally for a while, and that is in an early stage.
The new Google Hangouts for web video calling UI is not available for Google Apps for Work users.
If you don’t like the new interface, fret not, Google has you covered. The Mountain View company offers users the option to switch to the old UI, and all you have to do is to follow the steps given below.
How to switch to the old Google Hangouts UI:
1. Visit the Google Hangouts page https://hangouts.google.com/
2. Click on the menu button in the top right corner.
3. Select the option which says “Original version”.
Simply visit http://g.co/hangouts and you are good to go.
The video calling UI now has a full-screen interface, making it distraction free. Here is a look at the old video call interface.
As you can see the buttons on the top of the screen are quite large and distracting, and the sidebar makes the UI a bit clunky as well. Additionally, the company has made it easier to invite your contacts to join a call, but failed to mention what the changes are.
These new features, are not available for all users yet. Google says that it will be rolling out the new Google Hangouts for web UI, to some users today. The good news is that it will start enabling the changes globally over the next few days.