To Showcase New Hangouts API, Google Debuts Poker, Doodle Apps

Expanding the functionality of the group video chat app

Google may have moved slow with an API for Google+, that's by design says Google+ boss Vic Gundotra, but it's starting to roll out at least some APIs. One big launch is the Google+ Hangouts API which is now available to all developers.

At the same time, Google is also showcasing several Google+ Hangouts apps, built on top of the API, that highlight some of the things made possible by the new tools.

Devs can now build apps that incorporate group video chat while adding functionality, features, or simple making hangouts more fun.

"Hangouts are great for spending time together, as well as doing things together. That's why we've been adding apps to Hangouts since launch -- from YouTube to screensharing to Google Docs," Amit Fulay, a product manager at Google, wrote.

"Today we're introducing a starter set of featured apps, and enabling developers to share any hangout app with the entire Google+ community," he announced.

Google has six apps to go along with the launch, some useful some fun. There's a poker app, for example, enabling a group of people to get together for a friendly match. Google Effects enables you to add all sorts of masks and other whimsical stuff.

There's also the ubiquitous drawing app, aptly named Scoot & Doodle. There are a couple of office apps as well, a presentation sharing app, SlideShare, and a tool for diagramming and wire-framing, Cacoo.

These serve more as examples of what can be done with the new Google+ Hangouts API.The API enables apps to integrate Hangouts functionality, group video, audio and so on, either to add collaboration features to an existing app or to create a new one around video chat.

The Hangouts API becomes one of the first big APIs for Google+, though developers are still waiting for extensive and general Google+ APIs, which would enable them to build desktop or mobile clients or add support for the service in existing ones.

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