Yesterday at 18:00 CET, Moritz Tolxdorff and Martin Thielecke unveiled their new Hangout Toolbox – a meta-app, combining the best of several hangout apps for improving the Google+ Hangout experience, into one convenient toolkit.
Q: Who are you, and what motivated your involvement / cooperation on this project?
Moritz Tolxdorff: I am a system administrator for UNIX systems in a data center. I am 28 years old and live in Essen, Germany. Since Google released the Hangout API I started to develop applications for Hangouts. My main motivation is to build useful tools for Hangout users to increase their Hangout experience. I also add fun apps like my latest one, Meme Face. It all started with the idea of having Lower Third in Hangouts and this app became very popular. While Martin and I were hanging out, we figured out that we should work on projects together.
Q: What was the main motivation behind the app?
Martin Thielecke: There were many Hangout apps that I couldn’t use simultaneously and I thought about developing them again. For the simple reason that they were already done, I asked Moritz to to complement each other and I think the app is great now.
Moritz Tolxdorff: I heard a lot of users complaining that they are not able to run two apps at the same time. That prevented users from loading Lower Third and Volume Control for example. Since Google doesn’t support multiple apps at the same time I had to find a solution on my own. That why I decided to work together with Martin on this new Hangout Toolbox which combines all apps into one big app.
Q: What are the key features you are including in the launch?
The app provides access to all our other Hangout apps plus some new stuff. It contains:
– Lower Third
– Volume Control
– De-Face (aka Meme Face)
You can control each app individually and simultaneously. This was a highly requested feature, and is now finally available to the public.
Q: Which features do you have on the roadmap for the future?
We will definitely work on other apps that we will build into this toolbox. Besides minor improvements to existing features we will work on completely new sub-apps. We always listen to ideas and requests from users and decide if those requests are able to build. There are no detailed plans yet for upcoming features, but we will add more stuff in the future.
Q: Where do you see it going – is this a tactical project, or is this something that you hope to commercialize?
Moritz Tolxdorff: As I said before, my Lower Third app became very popular and I just wanted to give users the flexibility to use all my apps at the same time. I think this will get very useful for a lot of Hangouters. Depending on the promotional work and support I can get from Google it might get as successful as Lower Third on its own. It was just the next step of app development and was kinda obvious.
The demand for such a meta app was there. I will keep my apps free, because I like to build stuff for this amazing Google+ community. I do have a donation button in Lower Third and in this Hangout Toolbox which allows users to fund our development. It is not my target to make a living from apps in the long run.
Indeed, the Hangout Toolbox is more than free – it’s open-source, as well!
Ready to give it a try? Here’s the installation guide, off you go!