We're not in a hole. A lot of companies would like to be in our hole - Scott 'touch'n'feely' McNealy
INTERNET SERVICES GIANT Google is removing the video chat function from Gmail and replacing it with a Hangouts style video feature as seen in Google+.
"Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilise the power of Google's network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality," Google's product manager Fred Brewin said in a post in the firm's blog on Monday.
"You'll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and with Hangouts you'll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices."
Google said all Gmail users will benefit from the upgrade, but in what has to be a bid to get more people using its flagging social network, those Gmail users who are also on Google+ will be able to take advantage of additional features.
"You'll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen," Brewin said.
The Hangout-inspired video messaging also brings a variety of fun effects using augmented reality such as virtual costumes to tempt people into joining the not so popular Google+.
Google said it has already begun rolling out Hangouts in Gmail and will continue to do so gradually over the coming weeks. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ