Friday, October 10, 2014

Google Launches Hangouts Desktop App and Polls for Google+

Google Hangouts users can now chat and make calls from their desktops without opening their browser.

The company rolled out a new desktop app for Chrome OS and Windows users Thursday and announced new social polling features for Google+.

The desktop app allows chats and calls to run independently of a web browser, and chats and notifications will automatically be synced between the desktop and mobile app.

"The app has a streamlined design that keeps your chats accessible without getting in the way of everything else," Google wrote in a blog post. "Your contact list and all your chats are condensed into one easy to toggle window."

The desktop app also supports Hangouts' voice and video calls, including Google's recently improved Hangouts dialer. Google Voice users can also make and receive calls, listen to voicemails and read SMS messages via their Google Voice number from within the app. Those who are already using Hangouts via the Chrome extension will soon be prompted to try the new desktop experience, Google said.

Google also unveiled a new Polls feature for Google+ on the web and iOS and Android app. Polls can be created directly from Hangouts and can include photos, GIFs or links to Google image searches.

The move comes less than a month after the company announced it was acquiring the social polling company Polar to work on Google+. Polls are rolling out to the Android and web version of Google+ "over the next few days" and will roll out to Hangouts' iOS app "soon."

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