For many, Google’s Hangouts service is a great way to stay in touch with people. Either by message or by voice calls and any update that rolls out to the service is often one met with excitement. The most recent of which occurred last week when Hangouts was updated with support for the newly released Android N developer preview. Well, there is an update now rolling out to Hangouts, although this is one which will not be of much use to the general end-user. This is largely due to the update being designed for those who make use of the more business and education side of Google’s services, namely, the likes of Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Education and so on.
If you are a Google Apps customer and do use Hangouts for hosting or taking part in large meetings, then you will be happy with today’s update as Google has confirmed that they are now raising the participant limit to 25. As a result, following the update as many as 25 participants will be able to take part in any singular online meeting or chat. This is quite the increase as previously only 15 participants were able to take part at any one time. Whether this feature will be one which rolls out to the non-Google Apps in the future, remains to be seen. Although it does seem unlikely that such a general update will be high up on the agenda for the Hangouts team. Therefore, for now non-Google Apps Hangouts users will continue to be able to make use of chats with up to 10 participants.
That said, Google has also confirmed that there will be some restrictions on the general use. Most notably that meetings on Hangouts will only still show along the bottom of the screen the ten most active participants in any meeting. A move designed to ensure the quality remains at a high enough level in spite of the participant increase. As with any updates, Google Apps users should start to see the feature going live soon enough, although it was noted by Google that this is a gradual roll out so it could take quite a few days to reach all users.