The history of science fiction is rife with plays on the avatar. Whether a man is able to transfer his mind into another physical being, as in Jim Cameron’s Avatar, or live a virtual life seemingly indistinguishable from reality, as in the Matrix, there seems to be a human fascination with the transformation of our physical presence. Google has just taken us one (whimsical) step forward towards such a dream by introducing a whole series of effects for their Google+ Hangouts service.
In an official Google+ post from Amit Fulay, we see that developers have enabled users to click the “mask” icon to cycle through new facial effects. In the image below, you can see the cat, the dog, the angel (surprisingly detected and placed on a small puppy?) and the devil. These are welcome additions to the simpler effects such as the mustache and antlers that existed before.
Google+ Hangouts are definitely one of the strongest elements of the burgeoning social network, and there have been a lot of cases of celebrities and politicians using the service for chats with users. I feel that this service may really take on a new life once Google TV becomes a more formal product — imagine easily starting a Google+ Hangout with your various families’ living rooms.