While we're still waiting on our chance to have Hangouts and Google Voice merged together like the iOS counterpart of the Android app, the Hangouts team together with Victoria Kirst who is a member of that team, has been working to no end on something that should make all Chrome browser users pretty happy. Today they have announced that an update is rolling out to Hangouts that will allow for users to engage in Hangouts video calls while outside of G+ or Gmail, without the need for the Hangouts plugin to be downloaded. While the plugin is no huge hassle to download, not having to do so is all that much easier and makes it so that anyone can hop into Chrome, and no matter what webpage they're surfing, be able to jump into Hangouts video calls immediately or whenever they wish.
Victoria Kirst refers to this as Hangouts in an instant, although it won't be taking on that name as the term only serves to illustrate the quickness of being able to hop in a Hangout. Steps to use this feature are simple, as all you'll have to do is click to start a hangout from now on and allow hangouts to access your computers microphone and video camera and all systems are go. There are some things to point out though, which is that not everybody will have access to this feature right away, meaning this very moment. For right now this new feature of Hangouts being implemented through the update is only going out to Chrome Canary and Dev channels, and over the course of the next few weeks it'll be rolling out to other Chrome users.
This is exciting news for anyone who uses Hangouts often or even on a daily basis, and especially for newcomers to Hangouts that may have just stayed away from it because of the need for a plugin download prior to this update. This certainly makes the action of connecting with friends or family across the web that much faster, and might be a big help for those that have the need to start a hangout immediately after they un-box a new computer and connect it to the web, because no plugin download means less steps between the user and the Hangout.