Google Hangouts app for iPad, iPhone and Android released
This entry was posted on Friday, May 17, 2013.
Google made a bunch of announcements this week, and Hangouts is one of the most important one of those. The new Hangouts app replaces the Google Talk app, which has been a center of criticism for far too long. Google has finally taken note, and has overhauled the Google Talk app, giving it the Google Plus treatment. The two biggest talking points of this new app are group video calling and the conversation based interface.
Rather than displaying a list of online contacts when the app loads up, Hangouts displays a list of conversations. There’s no easy way to tell which contacts are online and which are not. To start a chat, you must start a new hangout and add contacts to it. A hangout can either be video or text based. Also, a Google Plus account is required to use Hangouts; Gmail account is not enough.
The app syncs seamlessly with other devices and the conversations are always up to date, no matter which device you are using. Since Hangouts is a cross platform service, it has a distinct advantage over iMessage, which only works with iOS devices. The user interface is as simple as it can be. A list of conversations with contact names to the left, and the actual conversation on the right.
Overall, Hangouts is a huge upgrade from the Talk or Google+ messenger apps. It beats out other services such as Whatsapp that lack video calling, but the lack of SMS integration will keep it from becoming the most preferred chat service for now.