Google Inc and Facebook trotted out a variety of new social networking features in back-to-back announcements Tuesday, underscoring their intensifying competition for Web surfers.
Google integrated its flagship search engine into its 3-month old social network — with membership now open to the Internet public — and expanded its “Hangouts” video-chat feature to allow mobile use and broadcasting.
The company said on its official blog its well-received Hangouts feature — where up to nine people can link up and chat with a user on video — will be available on camera equipped smartphones powered by its own Android software. Support for Apple Inc iOS devices “is coming soon”, it added.
And a user can now host an online broadcast with this feature — recording a session and broadcasting it live for public access online. Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am will host the first “Hangout on Air” on Wednesday, Google said.
“Hangouts should keep pace with how you socialize in the real-world, so today we’re launching it on the one device that’s always by your side: your mobile phone,” senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra said on the blog post. More