You Can Now Draw Messages for Your Friends in Google Hangouts. Here's How.

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
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Original art by Alyssa Bereznak and Jason Gilbert; pixels on Gchat; 2014.

Earlier this week, Google quietly released a new feature on its popular chatting client Hangouts: the ability to draw directly in your chat window. 

Now you can message your thoughts through text, photos, or scribbles right in Hangouts (formerly known as Gchat). The Microsoft Paint-ish tool also allows you to insert a photo on which you can overlay a drawing or add annotations. Currently it’s available only in your web browser for Google+ members, but judging from the early creations I’ve seen, it’s best that we practice doodling with a cursor before moving on to our fingers.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the tool:

There are a couple of places in the Google-verse to access Hangouts. For me, it’s usually Gmail.

Open a chat with a friend by clicking a name in the bottom-left corner of your inbox.

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A chat window will pop up at the bottom of the page. Click inside the compose box as you normally would to begin typing a conversation. 

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From there, mouse your cursor over the camera icon. A drawing tool icon should show up to its left. Click it.

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Your blank canvas will appear like magic. Select the drawing tool to make lines. You can adjust their width, opacity, and shape by clicking the options in the second row.

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To change colors, click the black square in the upper-left corner of the box. 

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The arrows tool allows you to move your blank canvas around in the chat. 

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You also have the option to select a photo from your library and then draw over or annotate it. Just click the camera first. 

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If you hover over the right corner of a drawing you sent and click the pen icon, it’ll allow you to draw over the creation again. Meaning you can add on your friend’s drawings as well.

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Here are the amazing masterpieces that my editor and I made:

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The tools are still somewhat limited. For instance, you can’t undo something when a line goes askew; you can only cancel the entire thing or use the white color to blot out mistakes. But it’s the start of something very cool.

I dare you to try and do better.

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