Introducing the Google+ Hangouts API

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | 9:00 AM

In the three months since we launched face-to-face-to-face communication in Google+ Hangouts, I’ve been impressed by the many ways people use them. We’ve seen Hangouts for game shows, fantasy football drafts, guitar lessons and even hangouts for writers to break their solitary confinement. That’s just the beginning. Real-time applications are more engaging, fun, and interactive, but were hard for developers to deliver. Until now.

 Today we’re launching the Developer Preview of the Hangouts API, another small piece of the Google+ platform. It enables you to add your own experiences to Hangouts and instantly build real-time applications, just like our first application, the built-in YouTube player.

 The integration model is simple -- you build a web app, register it with us, and specify who on your team can load it into their Hangout. Your app behaves like a normal web app, plus it can take part in the real-time conversation with new APIs like synchronization. Now you can create a “shared state” among all instances of your app so that all of your users can be instantly notified of changes made by anyone else. (This is how the YouTube player keeps videos in sync.) And we’ve added our first few multimedia APIs so you can, for example, mute the audio and video feeds of Hangout participants. 

When you’re ready to start hacking, we’re ready for you -- read the documentation, sign up, and start coding. We’re anxious to get your feedback, since this is a very early version of the API. We’ll be making improvements and moving towards full production based on what we learn together. And we’ll be releasing new updates on a regular basis, so stay tuned!

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