Google is removing the video chat function from Gmail that has been available since 2008 and replacing it with a Hangouts style video feature as seen in Google+.
“Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality,” Google’s product manager Fred Brewin said in a company blog post. “You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.”
Google said all Gmail users will benefit from the upgrade, but in what has to be a bid to boost Google+ usage, those Gmail users who are also on Google+ will be able to take advantage of additional features.
“You’ll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen,” Brewin wrote.
The Hangout-inspired video messaging also brings a variety of fun effects using augmented reality such as virtual costumes.
Google said it has already begun rolling out Hangouts in Gmail and will continue to do so gradually over the coming weeks.
This article was originally published on the Inquirer.