Google has made a lot of tweaks to Hangouts, its video chat service, since it launched mid-year. The most recent tweaks let you start a hangout from within an existing online discussion, add a voice call to any international number into a hangout, or wear virtual antlers when taking part in a video chat.
Google added the ability to dial voice phone numbers and add them to a hangout in audio mode earlier this month, but initially it was restricted to US and Canada phone numbers. You can now dial any international number, though unsurprisingly you’ll have to pay. Calls to Australian landlines are 2 cents US a minute, while mobiles cost a slightly-heftier-but-still-not-insane 14 US cents a minute. To access the calling option, you need to choose ‘Hangouts with extras’ when you start a hangout.
The ‘start a hangout’ option attached to every conversation is potentially useful if you want to switch from messaging to talking. It will also be added to the Google+ apps for Android and iOS. Finally, the antlers feature is an extension of a previous fun-but-pointless tweak that allowed you to wear a moustache while chatting.
[via Official Google Blog]