September 15, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
I’ve seen many Google+ users ask when the Google+ Android app would support Hangouts, and my guess is that it’s not high on the priority list for now. That doesn’t mean that users have to wait around for the chacne to have mobile group video chat. Fring already introduced that feature for up to four people to video chat in April, and it now lets strangers chat as easily as friends do.
Fring Playgrounds is a new app that lets Android users video chat about topics that interest them. A user logins into the app, creates a Playground about anything – Android, perhaps? – and then others are free to join to talk about that topic. A thumbnail shows the people currently in that playground, and up to 4 people can chat at once.
Playgrounds supports 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi, but network quality will influence the conversation. My first playground had issues with people being on slow networks, which led to folks talking over each other. Another problem is the issue of filtering since 90 percent of the playgrounds I see are started by non-English speakers. It would be great if Playgrounds had a feature to use my location to provide optional filtering for more local users.
On the bright side, Playgrounds has a search function that let’s users find a topic of interest. And if folks enjoy talking with the other people in the room, it’s easy to add them to a friends list to hang-out later. It’s still very early in the Playgrounds system, but this could be fun for people looking to video chat with different people.
P.S. Keep your shirts on, people.