Google updates Hangouts, adds bandwidth slider and audio only mode

Written by Russell Co. Posted in Internet, Networking, News, Software and Apps

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Published on February 08, 2013 with No Comments


Google once again makes its products more accessible to everyone in the world. As you all know, we don’t always have stellar Internet connections in the Philippines. With unreliable connections in mind, the company has added two new features to its video chatting service, Hangouts. It has added a slider that lets you tweak your bandwidth usage and an audio-only mode.

Here’s what Google’s Tim Blasi had to say about the update:

Today we’re excited to launch two new features that improve the Hangouts experience in areas with low and/or unreliable connectivity:

1) Bandwidth slider. At the top right of every hangout is a new slider that lets you adjust your bandwidth preferences in real-time. This makes it easier to keep hangouts going, even in areas with poor connectivity.

2) Audio-only mode. Choose this mode to send and receive audio only, and thus, significantly reduce your bandwidth requirements. Other participants will only see your profile picture, but they’ll hear you loud and clear.

Both of these features are coming your way today but they’re rolling out separately so you may see one before you see the other. Very soon both features will be available to everyone, so give ’em a try and let us know what you think! Thanks for your patience.

Hangouts has always tried to work with your available bandwidth to give you the best experience but these options will make it even better. With both these options, users now have more control over their Hangout experience, even if they have an unreliable connection. With audio-only, anyone can participate in the Hangout. These new features could be great for the unreliable mobile connections we have, but unfortunately the rollout is only available for desktop for the moment. It’s still a great feature for third-world countries such as ours and hopefully we’ll be seeing more localized features with Google’s new offices in the country.