Google has officially rolled out Hangouts in Gmail feature to all Gmail users in India, allowing them to use Google+ Hangouts within Gmail. Hangouts allows one to video chat with up to 9 friends, collaborate on Google docs, share screens, and watch YouTube videos with their friends.

First introduced by Google in July 2012, Hangouts in Gmail was built on Google’s network and was expected to replace the existing Gmail video chat functionality which was based on peer-to-peer technology. However, Google India has today mentioned that Hangouts in Gmail will be offered in addition to the existing video chat functionality.

How To Use? While the service hasn’t rolled out to us at the time of writing this article, Google states that users can simply click on the hangout button in the chat widget, to start a video chat with their friends.

Our Take

Over the past year, we have noticed that Google has been integrating several Google+ features to its other popular properties like YouTube, Google Calendar, and Gmail among others to push user adoption of Google+, but who uses Google+ even now?

That being said, we believe that Hangouts is quite an interesting feature and could possibly be a worthy competitor to Microsoft’s Skype, especially now that users can no longer share screens through Skype without a premium subscription. Why doesn’t Google separate Hangout from Google+ and offer it as a standalone product to consumers and enterprises?

Similar Developments

In May 2012, Google had rolled out Hangouts On Air to Google+ users worldwide, allowing them to publicly broadcast a live video feed of their Hangout discussions as well as record the entire session for future viewing on YouTube. Google had claimed that this feature was being used by television channels like CBS to conduct live debates and by music bands like Suite 709 and singers like Daria Musk to perform live for global audiences, and jam with fans face-to-face.