Google Hangouts adds sketch feature via Chrome for desktop

Nate Swanner - Jun 7, 2014
Google Hangouts adds sketch feature via Chrome for desktop

Hangouts on the desktop has an interesting new feature, giving us all the ability to sketch a message out. It’s currently pretty crude, but the ability to annotate pics could come in pretty handy. Just ahead of I/O, Google might have added one of the more useful features we’ve seen in their messaging app in some time.

When hovering over the “add a picture” icon that sits in the text box, a pencil pops up. When you click on the icon, a blank template pops up. There are some very rudimentary editing options, with various pen colors and sizes being the more obvious features. There is also a way to adjust the opacity, or use a square pen shape rather than a circular.

In the sketch mode, you can also add a picture. Right now, the size of the picture doesn’t seem to adjust to the window. If you add a massive picture, the screen will only show a small portion of it. The picture can’t be sized to fit, either. If you upload an appropriately sized picture, though, it’s pretty easy to start sketching away. As you can see above and below, I was careful to pick the right picture size before editing.

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 3.01.29 PM

I’ve gone ahead and quickly toyed with our logo a bit to show both the simplicity and ease of editing. If you took a picture of something and wanted to highlight a particular area, it’s easy to do. Sadly, there isn’t a text edit mode in “sketch”, so you won’t be able to add a message via the keyboard just yet.

This is currently only available for the desktop, which is odd. Considering the lack of a text box, this would be much more useful via mobile. It may be a feature Google is testing out, which will make its way to mobile soon — that we don’t know. What we do know is a sketch feature in the Hangouts app would draw us away from other apps like Skitch.

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