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Google opens up Hangouts with guest access feature

Previously, anyone invited to join a Hangouts meeting without an existing Google account was prompted to create one.

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Google is rolling out a new feature to its chat and video conferencing application Hangouts that will allow meeting organizers to invite participants who do not have Google accounts.

Previously, anyone invited to join a Hangouts meeting without an existing Google account was prompted to create one.

With the update, a non-Google account holder can join a chat directly from a Google Calendar invite, with the only requirement being their name.

Meeting organizers will still have the ability to manage meeting participants through adding, muting, and ejecting.

It's a relatively small update for Hangouts, but an important move for Google. The tech giant has been working to tear down the walls surrounding its services. This new capability could help bolster adoption of Google Hangouts as a business-ready video conferencing and chatting option, competing with the likes of WebEx and Adobe.