Thursday, February 18, 2016

Google's Hangouts Changes To P2P

Google Hangout P2P imageMany artists and bands use Google's Hangouts On Air to engage with their fans. This includes everything from mini-concerts to online meet and greets (I use it as part of Webinarjam for my webinars), and while it was reliable, there was always a question with its audio quality, especially when it came to music.

Google has now rolled out Hangouts 7.0, and while it has a number of cool features, the main upgrade is that it now uses a peer-to-peer connection, or P2P, between Hangout users who are on the call.

The reason is to make the calls more efficient, and as a result, take the audio and video quality up a notch to generally improve the experience.

Previously, the call would go through Google's servers, and while the company has what many consider one of the most robust backbone's in the world, the connection was always as solid as you'd expect, hence the move to P2P.

One of the potential downsides of using the P2P connection though is that each user's IP address is revealed, which means their location could be discovered and their privacy compromised as a result.

There's talk that the P2P feature may be selectively disabled in the future, but that's not the case at the moment.

So if you're a Hangouts users, enjoy the new features and increased quality. If you live in an area where you'd like to protect your IP address and privacy, maybe it's better to use another platform for the time being.

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