Google updates Hangouts, makes provisions for users with low bandwidth

Hangouts gets bandwidth slider and audio-only features, tailored for users who have low bandwidth issues.

While the Hangouts feature on Google Plus, is one of its interesting ones, those in areas with connectivity issues would understandably be unable to use it to its fullest capacity. Addressing this issue, Google's Tim Blasi reveals in an official blog post that the company has launched two new features to improve the Hangouts experience in areas with slow Internet connections. First among these is the bandwidth slider. Users will spot a new slider at the top right of every hangout, using which they can adjust their bandwidth preferences in real-time. Blasi elaborates that this way, users can keep their Hangouts going. 


Then there is the audio-only mode feature that allows users to send and receive audio only - thereby reducing te amount of bandwidth required. On the other side of the Hangout, participants will be able to only view your profile picture, but hear you loud and clear. 

Google updates Hangouts, makes provisions for users with low bandwidth

Audio-only mode for low bandwidth areas



These features should be activated today, as per Blasi's post. These, however, shall be rolled out separately.


These are interesting additions, since this way users even in areas of limited or unreliable connectivity can enjoy this feature (Google+ Hangouts) in the best way possible. 


Interesting things are happening at Google Plus. Recently, Google threw open access to Hangouts for Gmail users in India. Google+ Hangouts allows Gmail users to add up to 9 people to a voice chat. Using Hangouts, Gmail users can watch YouTube videos with their friends, collaborate on Google Docs, or play games by adding apps from a menu. Those with a slow connection can opt for the 'Low Bandwidth' mode.


To begin using Google+ Hangouts, you have to click the Hangout button on the top of the chat list in Gmail. Users can also schedule a hangout using Google Calendar.


Google hasn't been lazy with rolling out updates and improving the user experience on Gmail. Following a recent update, Gmail gave users the ability to add labels and stars to their messages right in the new compose box. To star a message or label it, you will have to click on the 'More' options menu at the bottom right and hover on the Label option there.


Google redesigned Gmail's Compose window in October last year. The compose box opens just like a chat window would, but is a bit larger. Phil Sharp, Google’s Product Manager, stated that with this new design, it was possible to keep the compose mail box open and still look for older mails for reference. This way, users can also keep an eye out for newer mails. Sharp said, “The new compose is designed to let you focus on what's important: your message.” 

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