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May, 2014

Google+ Hangouts: The Low-down

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For many who are yet to indulge in the whole Google+ biz, Hangouts is synonymous to the Google+ experience. As expected then, Hangouts gets a lot of attention both from Googlers and Google Plussers. Hangouts updates happen quite a lot. Hangouts is the chat feature on Google+ that works across all devices, be it computer, Android or iOS. Sending multimedia is seamless while video calls, of which Hangouts is synonymous too, are a tap away. You can video call up to ten people at a time. You can also send animated GIFs which is also a Google+ preserve. Here are some of the updates in the past weeks on Hangouts.

Hangouts on Mobile

Hangouts were integrated with SMS/MMS messaging last year. With the tagline ‘One place for all your conversations’, it’s actually a pretty neat messaging app that can replace all others you have tried before. A recent update now merges SMS (text) and Hangouts messages into one thread, provided you have their number saved on your phone. You can easily switch between message types within the thread. You can also choose to un-merge the two.

Merge Hangouts with SMS

The problem with making Hangouts your default messaging app is that sometimes, it will not pick that contacts name for some reason. Like any other third-party messaging app, it will also conflict with the native messaging app sometimes. Hangouts 2.1.0 has a widget you can add to your home screen for quick access.

Hangouts on Web

This week, Hangouts on Web got an update too. The green line that indicated if a person is online is back to being the green bubble it was in the days of Chat. You can now see the last message excerpt that was exchanged in your conversation at all times as opposed to previously where all you could see was unread messages.

You can also set your mood but not your status as before. There are 80 emoji to choose from. The profile picture is now circular, just as it is on Google+. If you’re not using Hangouts in Gmail already, you can switch by clicking on your profile picture above your chat contacts and“Try the new Hangouts.”

If you are not happy with Hangouts, you can always revert back Chat. Better still, the Google Talk app still works. You can use it at the same time with no problem.

G Chat and Hangouts


Do you like Hangouts or do you prefer the old chat and Google Talk? Why or why not? Talk to us.

What do you think?