Hangouts in Google Calendar; RIP Google TV Ads; WebP 0.2 Adds Lossless and Transparency Modes

If you are using a Google Calendar and have upgraded to Google+, you can now schedule a face-to-face video chat right from Google Calendar using Google+ Hangouts. "Users with an active Google+ profile can add a Google+ Hangout to calendar events. Invited guests can join the hangout by clicking on "Join hangout" on the event […]

If you are using a Google Calendar and have upgraded to Google+, you can now schedule a face-to-face video chat right from Google Calendar using Google+ Hangouts.

"Users with an active Google+ profile can add a Google+ Hangout to calendar events. Invited guests can join the hangout by clicking on "Join hangout" on the event details page. These hangouts will respect any restrictions in the administrator control panel," Google said.

Google+ Hangouts in Calendar

Google Apps, Google Apps for Business, Government and Education, received the following update as on 8/28/12

Gmail: 1:1 Video chat in Gmail has been upgraded and is now powered by Google+ Hangouts. If both sides have created a Google+ profile you will get the full Hangouts experience including the ability to add up to nine other people to the conversation, screen sharing and integrated Google Docs collaboration.

Well, you are on Google+, now it is even easier to celebrate birthday, as starting today, "you'll see a reminder on Google.com when someone in your circles has a birthday!," Irene Chung posted.

When it's your special day, "we only remind the people you've chosen to share your birthday with. Update your Google+ birthday preferences to make sure you're sharing with the right people: https://plus.google.com/up/birthday," Chung wrote.

From there it's easy to share a fun message, photo, or video with the birthday gal or guy.

The reminder currenlty will only appear on English Google.com. Google says, it'll be rolling out this feature gradually over the next few days.

Google+ Birthday Reminders on Google.com

In other Google news, Google TV Ads in AdWords was launched in 2007 is now getting close.

"Video is increasingly going digital and users are now watching across numerous devices. So we've made the hard decision to close our TV Ads product over the next few months and move the team to other areas at Google," Google announced in a blog post. Of course "we'll continue to support our partners, and our clients' campaigns, as we shut the product down."

Adding, "We'll be doubling down on video solutions for our clients (like YouTube, AdWords for Video, and ad serving tools for web video publishers)," Google adds.

To make web pages load faster, Google released version 0.2 of the WebP library that adds support for lossless and transparency modes to compress images. "This version provides CPU and memory performance comparable to or better than PNG, yet results in 26% smaller files," Google stated.

The new WebP modes are supported natively in the latest Beta version of Chrome.

"WebP's improved compression comes from advanced techniques such as dedicated entropy codes for different color channels, exploiting 2D locality of backward reference distances and a color cache of recently used colors. This complements basic techniques such as dictionary coding, Huffman coding and color indexing transform. Our newly added support for alpha transparency with lossy images promises additional gains in this space, helping make WebP an efficient replacement for PNG," explained Jyrki Alakuijala - Software Engineer.

As the pre-registration of Google Fiber is nearing closer, Google in a blog addressed some common Q&A's:

How much will the TV boxes cost? "Your first TV box - plus the Nexus 7 Tablet - are included for free in the Gigabit + TV package. For those of you who want Google Fiber on multiple televisions in your home, you can add extra TV Boxes for $5 each/month for 24 months," Google posted.

You also have the option to purchase TV boxes upfront for $120/ea. Extra boxes include a standard remote control but not a tablet.

Where are the hidden costs? What's the fine print?

"There are none. These aren't promotional rates. We won't make you call us every six months to keep the price you see on the website. You don't need to cancel and then restart to get a better "online offer." No shenanigans; just fast Internet and simple service. We want you to spend your time discovering what 100x the possibilities looks like, not on the phone with us. (Unless you want to call us, in which case, we'd love to chat!)," added Google.

Check out more over at Google's "Answering your questions about devices and contracts" blog post.