If you use Google+ Hangouts for your business, can officially drop the "Google+" part.
Starting today for Google Apps users, the videoconferencing and messaging platform is just Hangouts now that the company has fully integrated the services into its core Apps services, including Gmail and Google Drive. For business users, it means you no longer need a G+ profile to use hangouts — all you need is a Google account.
Regular users will still need to use G+ to start a Hangout for now, but the divergence of Google+ and Hangouts fits with the trajectory of both services. Over the past year Google has moved to unite its many disparate communications tools — Google Talk, Google Chat, Google+ Messenger and others — under the Hangouts umbrella. Google Voice still remains a separate entity, although today's move sets the stage for integrating that service into Hangouts as well, as has been rumored.
At the same time, the requirement to use Google+ for Hangouts never has sat well with many users the requirement to use Google+ for Hangouts never has sat well with many users, and G+ has struggled to gain traction as a brand. Google didn't so much as mention it at its recent developer conference, whereas in past years Google+ was a prominent presence.
Besides dropping the G+ requirement for Hangouts, Google is making the service play even better with businesses. A consequence of being under the same terms of service as other Google Apps services is guaranteeing Hangouts will be reliable 99.9% of the time, and Apps customers will get 24/7 phone support. Hangouts will also make their way into the Google Apps Vault by the end of the year.