Google just announced a huge update to Hangouts on Google+ as part of their "Season of Shipping".
We'll let Google SVP Vic Gundotra say the rest:
Google+ Hangouts: Going beyond the status update
One of the most intimate forms of human connection is eye contact. Our digital tools have given us new forms - text messages, email, status updates - but nothing compares to the richness and intensity of looking into someones eyes as they talk.
Our emphasis on face-to-face-face group video communication has lead to some amazing experiences. By giving this away for free, we've enabled people around the world to see into each others eyes and share discussion and laughter in new ways.
Today, we improve the service significantly.
1) We are enabling you to hangout on any post.
2) We've reached an important milestone for "Hangouts on Air". Hundreds of people (who we have whitelisted as part of our trial) can now broadcast their hangouts to the entire world for free completely self-service. Our goal is to enable this for everyone on the planet.
3) We are making it possible for you to start hangouts from messenger on Android or iPhone devices.
4) You can call any phone number in the world and conference in anyone.
5) We threw in a reindeer :-)
Get the full update here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/google-hangouts-going-beyond-status.html