Google just announced that Google Hangouts on the Web is getting several new touches, in hope of sprucing up its image and increasing its market share.

They don’t give many details about what they are doing, but they do say this:

Key changes include:
• Calls that start faster and stay crisper, with higher quality video
• A more streamlined and immersive full-screen interface
• A simpler way to invite friends and family to your calls

These all seem positive, but, wary that some current users may like they current interface, Google offers an escape hatch. Users can click a link and return to the older version.

Google says that they will be gradually rolling out the changes to all Google Plus users

There is a bit of uproar among heavy users. To get the improvements, Google removed some well-liked features. In response to many restless users commenting on the Google blog reporting the change, one power user said:

NOTHING IS REMOVED. This is a new tool. The old tool remains available. Certainly it’s not ideal to have taken over the access point for the old tool, but here we are. This is NOT designed for business/corporate users and broadcasters, but for Quick Call, get in/out, streamlined, NO FRILLS calls. Very small footprint, simple video calls.

So, as the old saying has it, “You pays your money and you takes your choice.”

You can read the initial announcement on the blog here: Updates to Google Hangouts on the Web.

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