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.
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.
From there, mouse your cursor over the camera icon. A drawing tool icon should show up to its left. Click it.
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.
To change colors, click the black square in the upper-left corner of the box.
The arrows tool allows you to move your blank canvas around in the chat.
You also have the option to select a photo from your library and then draw over or annotate it. Just click the camera first.
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.
Here are the amazing masterpieces that my editor and I made:
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.