Today, Google announced a new look for the Google+ stream. Gone is the weird, bubbly look that we've had for forever. The cards-centric UI that we've seen on phones and tablets is now coming to the desktop as well. You can select a one, two, or three-column layout and each individual card can flip over with a slick animation and provide more information and options.


Google's also improving its search and tagging functionality. Now, the service will analyze tags that you've provided and G+ will provide related hashtags to improve discovery. Even when you don't provide tags, Google can infer them. For example, Google showed off a photo of the Eiffel Tower. While no tags were attached, the service figured out that it needed an #eiffeltower tag without any action necessary. Neat.

Of course, the feature we've all been waiting for is Hangouts. This is the service that we've heard rumored under the name Babel. Google wants to be able to unify all the different functions across all services. Text, photos and video chat on Android, iOS, and the desktop.


2013-05-15_13h39_36 2013-05-15_13h39_57

You can have single or group conversations that include messages and pictures in the same feed. This app is available for Android, iOS, and the desktop starting today. Notifications are synced across all devices and you can start a video chat from anywhere. This is truly unified messaging.

We'll be doing a hands-on once this app becomes available. It appears that this will be replacing Google Talk and Google+ Messenger at the very least. No mention was made about SMS/MMS functionality yet, unfortunately.

Update: Hangouts is live! You can grab it via the widget below. As the name says on the Play Store, the app will completely replace Google Talk. The package overwrites your Talk APK, shortcuts, and everything. Oddly, at the moment it only seems to be available for phones, though the official Google post says that tablets are supported as well. We'll have to wait and see if tablets are added soon.

Source: Google

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

    One more good reason I can use to refuse my friends' demands that I use Whatsapp.

    • andy_o

      if this requires a Google account I guarantee that you're more likely to install Whatsapp than your friends that don't have a Google account use this.

      • Unni

        Isn't WhatsApp dependent on your mobile number? Also, no chat backups.

        • andy_o

          That's what I mean, Whatsapp is just install and use. You'll be able to see immediately who's got it and whom you could message. That's the advantage. No more stupid user names and passwords to remember.

          Chat backups, you can do them manually, but I don't think that's as important as seamless use for most people.

          Viber actually has it going better, they just released a desktop client and your chats do get synced between the two.

  • efan

    really hinging on sms support.

  • skitchbeatz

    They kind of glossed over it. Spending too much time on Photos!

  • Freak4Dell

    Yup...this won't see any more adoption than their other services. They didn't even really clarify if it's going to replace Talk or not. They breezed through that presentation without really giving any important information whatsoever.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yep, they skipped over the whole integration aspect. It sounds more like they expect people to migrate to Hangouts, not forcible deprecate Talk.

      • Freak4Dell

        Well, my friend just told me that the chat changed in GMail. I haven't gotten the new one yet, but if it's true, then they're just replacing Talk.

        Still pointless on mobile without SMS, but oh well.

      • woj_tek

        riiight... migrate to hangouts... which require g+ and breaks xmpp... move on, nothing to see here... =,=

        • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

          As someone who is still has Talk on my phone and Tablet but the Hangouts app in Chrome - I can tell you that messages sent and received in Hangouts on Chrome still appear on the phone and Tablet in Google Talk - furthermore - images shared in the Chrome app appear as hyperlinks in the Talk app. For whatever reason - the Play store says my Nexus 4 already has the Hangouts app (but it doesn't) and the Nexus 7 doesn't support it - most likely because the version floating around has SMS permissions and Tablets don't have SMS so the Play store is probably filtering the app because the Hardware isn't supported.

    • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

      Well, the Hangouts app on the Play Store is com.google.android.talk, so I'm assuming this is just the new version of Talk, plus a rebrand and features pulled from Google+ Messenger. Also emojis, so many emojis.

  • PiLoT .

    i hope they dont stagger the android and ios releases

    my gf uses ios and i use android and itd be nice to get going at the same time

  • Pablo Sanz Rodríguez

    Isn't this the official Hangouts extension for Chrome? https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hangouts/nckgahadagoaajjgafhacjanaoiihapd

    • Thomas Lovett

      Sure is. They just updated the Chat one they had. It installs a new extension and gets rid of the old one.

    • http://twitter.com/tigerhawkvok Philip Kahn

      Hm, looks like the same one to me. I installed it and relaunched chrome but it certainly doesn't look like the screenshots ....

  • PRM
  • Babs Oyed

    Good start but I was expecting much more. I was expecting it to integrate SMS and Google voice. That would have made it so much better. Oh well, at least it's much better than what we currently have

  • VegasDude73
    • Sukumar Patel

      Just got it :)

  • The_Chlero

    And yet not a really competition for Whatsapp. This is just a improved talk/G+ messenger experience, and nothing more.

    • Bleakvision

      What exactly is improved about it? From what I can see they removed a lot of basic features from GTalk.

      • The_Chlero

        Like which ones?

        • Iván Estévez


  • VegasDude73

    If you go search hangouts it shows up saying "replaces talk"

  • VegasDude73

    here ya go.

  • Mario Limonciello

    Is going to be the URL. My gmail just told me to go there to install it.

  • Tshif

    Somehow i think Chrome OS/Android hybrid when i look at this.....

  • Steven Pelech


  • rdr321

    Allows the app to receive and process SMS messages. This means the app could monitor or delete messages sent to your device without showing them to you.
    Allows apps to read data from the Google Talk content provider.
    Allows the app to read SMS messages stored on your device or SIM card. This allows the app to read all SMS messages, regardless of content or confidentiality.
    Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.

    • Andrew Richards

      This is so that Hangouts can text your friends to invite friends to sign up

      • Thomas’

        You wouldn't need the permission for writing or reading SMS to do this - a simple intent would do it.

        • Andrew Richards

          The intent would create the message and you'd still have to hit "send". This is automatically sending the message on your behalf when you hit "invite"

        • Freak4Dell

          There's no way to send an SMS from the app that I can see, though. When I click on any of my phone contacts, it just asks me to send them an invite.

        • GoogleIntern

          It reads SMS to verify your phone upon installing the app. Like Andrew Richards said, an intent would allow you to choose an SMS app and then hit send. By adding that permission, it sends a message immediately.

  • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

    It's not "the web" if it only works on Google Chrome.

    • Iván Estévez

      Gmail is the web. G+ is the web. Even iGoogle is the web

      • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

        Those all work on other browsers too.

        • Iván Estévez

          "It's not "the web" if it only works on Google Chrome"
          "Those all work on other browsers too"

          So it is the web

  • Hiren Vasani


  • JonJJon

    Just installed it via the web and although the app has installed properly is hasn't updated the Talk icon to the hangouts icon haha. Also it does ask to confirm phone number on entering the app to help friends find you.

  • Bleakvision

    Wow! No proper availability status, lots of duplicated contacts with no indication as to why (phone number, email, G+??? - what is the reason, what account am I sending to?). No way to add, remove or rename contacts.

    ...this is the shits friends, this is the shits...

    Back to the regular Talk app.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      There's no availablilty status because it will send to people when they are online or offline. I do feel that they should add statuses though

      • Adam Zweimiller

        This is a huge oversight. As a test, I found an offline contact in my Gmail. In the Hangouts app I sent them a message. At no point in the app did it tell me they were offline. The Gmail client still says "Susie is offline. Messages you send will be delivered when Susie comes online". I understand that the message will be delivered when they are online but many times I prefer to go ahead and give that person a call if they aren't on chat. Can you imagine sitting there completely oblivious to whether the person got your message or not? Talk for Android and Gmail both not only showed you the status icon but differentiated between Android and PC. This was especially handy as I try not to strike up long conversations with people I know are on mobile.

        • NA

          There is a "send feedback" link.

    • NikhilW

      Well the status is available, photos of people not online are blurred..

  • Loren Cogar

    The app is nice looking but its ridiculous that it doesnt include sms/mms. I have like 1 friend that actually uses Google + so this is still pretty pointless to me. I'm pretty bummed out by this years I/O conference.

  • Andrew Richards

    At least you can send picture messages over it now! It used to be text-only

  • Dipish

    Another battery drain to take care of... sigh

  • LibertyBeta

    Just have to wait for some one to grab the apk to get i on my tablet.

  • Thomas Beckingham

    Does any know if Gmail's chat will get updated like Google+
    The reason I ask is group chats don't show up in the gmail window at this point.

    • NA

      My question as well. Seems silly to have the functionality up to date in Google Plus but not in your flagship desktop messaging platform

  • Thomas’

    Well, you have to verify our phone number as in Whatsapp. So i guess, SMS support may be included somehow.

    • Thomas’

      Also: You can send messages to people from whose you only know their mobile numbers. These are send by SMS, i guess?

      • quantumsuicide

        Nope, they get an invitation to Hangouts, not a message...

      • andy_o

        Have you tried it? In what would be a monumentally stupid move, now it seems you can't see the online status of people, and it mixes all your phone's contacts, only distinguishing between frequents and "all". You can message anyone, but if they don't have the app installed they won't get any message, and you'll know nothing about it.

        I have just tried it with a friend who uses iOS and doesn't have a google account, and she didn't get the message. Also, to my other phone number, and nothing received, but I wouldn't know from what little info Hangouts gives me.

  • http://twitter.com/KharyTheCEO Cam Newton

    Pointless without SMS/MMS integration and if people do not actually download it or use Google+ (looking at my group of friends - 90% are iPhone users).

    • hyperbolic

      iphone users can install Hangouts too at the app store.

      • http://twitter.com/KharyTheCEO Cam Newton

        They tend to stick with iMessage though. That's why things like WhatsApp never made it over the proverbial hump

      • GoogleIntern

        Why would anyonewith a preinstalled messenger that includes SMS support ever go out of their way to install a second messenger without SMS support?

        • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

          Perhaps for the same reason that many people are excited that BBM is coming to iOS and Android? Because their friends are already using that service.

  • brian

    So the play store says that Hangouts is installed. Fast forward to the app drawer and nope still google talk. Also google talk cannot be uninstalled. I'm presuming this is because it was included with Gapps when I installed after cyanogenmod. Should I try clearing data? Uninstall through Titanium?

    • LibertyBeta

      Reboot. That should fix it.

      • brian

        Hmm nope reboot didn't work. I wonder if a new version of gapps will be released for cyanogen.

        • Tim242

          Uninstall talk with titanium. Problem solved.

    • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

      Same issue here. A few other people are having the issue over at Droid-Life

      • stkm

        Same Issue Here, Rebooted, did not work. When I click on the "Hangout" tab in the play store it says it is installed. When I click on open it takes me to the old Google Talk App?

        • blt

          Just delete talk app with some file explorer and install hangouts from play store.

    • Ryan

      I uninstalled through Titanium. It looks like the Talk app is version 4.x while the Hangouts is so the Play Store thinks it's up to date.

  • Mario Limonciello

    Looks like you can force it to install on tablet by pulling apk from phone and installing with root explorer (or similar). Works fine. They just have it marked wrong in the play store.

  • Paul

    i use the hangouts function in google+ to videochat with my girl when we are apart as she has ios and i have android, im not seeing much of a reason to have this also, seems i can just keep doing what im doing. am i missing something?

    • LibertyBeta

      This app replaces that app.

      • Paul

        so google+ app should be deleted? i guess im just missing the point.
        pardon my ignorance here.

        • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

          I'm sure when the inevitable Google+ app update happens it will go away.

        • LibertyBeta

          No. When you install this app, the hangouts shortcut in the app disappears. This app replaces part of the google+ app.

          • Paul

            I just checked my google+ app and the hangouts option is still there though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506195779 Bryan Pizzuti

    I don't see a widget...

  • Sergio

    Pretty disappointed with the new Hangouts... Who has designed it? So much waiting for that... Absolutely non intuitive, lot of space wasted, no voice calls... Don't like it at all...

  • Ulrik Djurtoft

    The app asks to confirm both my cellphone number and my Google Voice number, so I asume that they are integrated. Haven't tested them yet, though.

    • Tim242


  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    Well, Google might not have included SMS because it doesn't have control over the SMS network. Friend1: "Oh, I didn't get that messaeg" Friend2: "Damnit, Google!" Google: "What? It's not even my fault, guys!" - this is a reliability check, perhaps.

    • Alex Meyer

      It works fine with iMessage on iOS. If you send a message to someone with an apple device it is sent via iMessage, if they don't have it, it's then sent by SMS.

      This messaging service is worthless without doing similar.

    • Tim242

      Google Voice

    • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

      Actually that's stupidly easy to fix, especially now Google have announced Device to Cloud Messaging. Device A sends SMS to Device B - and tells Google it did it, when Device B gets message it tells Google who then store the status as "delivered" otherwise the status stays as undelivered. It's much more likely - viewing the current status of the app - that they simply ran out of time and wanted something available for the IO launch.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        Yeah, well, you're right. But then again, if the only problem was getting it done until the I/O, we can still hope SMS support is coming down the road :)

  • Vardan Nazaretyan

    Look at the screenshots of the hangout app in play store. On the status bar in phone screenshots, the indicator shows 4G. So maybe it's a hint on a 4G LTE Nexus 4?

    • The_Chlero

      or just de galaxy s4 AOSP edition.

      • Vardan Nazaretyan

        Does the AOSP Galaxy S4 have software buttons?

  • Hiren Vasani
    • http://www.facebook.com/leonardob0880 Leonardo Baez


  • Charles van Wunnik

    hangouts isn't working for me. I still have the google talk icon on my app drawer. I went to the play store and updated...? Help

    • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

      Same issue here. It seems many people are reporting this.

    • Doug Martin

      If you go to the play store on the web and select the "installed" button it will install the new version. Just did it. CM 10.1 rc2

      • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

        The Web store appears to have gotten smart - this has worked for me since the web store became available - but not anymore - now I click on the "installed" button and none of my devices are selectable - hovering over my Nexus 4 - the reason given "already installed on this device" !!

        • Ibrahim Jadoon

          Same as Andy and Charles. :( Say it's updated--it's not. The web store has the same "already installed on this device" error.

          Ah, yes, the Google we know and dislike.

  • Anthony Restaino

    Also pretty sad that it is currently incompatible with 2/3 of Nexus devices (7 and 10)

  • http://twitter.com/Alankrut Alankrut Patel

    For now if you copy the apk from your phone to your tablet. It installs and works. I have a Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7

  • Dani

    There is no Invisible status, beware!

    • John

      Yep. Just noticed that too! I need that.

  • SP_Disqus

    I like the idea behind it. I'm not totally sure how useful it will be yet. I have some friends who do use Google talk on android devices, but this update makes it more difficult to distinguish between those that do and those that don't since there is no "contact list." I have a feeling SMS messaging is inevitable and I'm hoping they can really come correct with that. I would consider using Facebook messaging for all my messaging if they had an easy way to integrate with my contact book and choose between sending it over facebook messaging if someone has it installed on their phone or is active on the computer (and let you know this at the time) or send it over SMS. That's pretty much the sweet spot right there that would get me to stop using an SMS app.

  • Zaatour36

    finally, something will make talk better, and still have it on my email :D

  • Drew M

    Anyone know if this affects GrooveIp?

  • Angel Penabad

    Finally a messaging app synched with my computer. Being able to receive notifications and reply messages from the desktop would be amazing. Don't know if it has it now, but it will for sure after what we saw in I/O.

  • Keerthi Madapusi Pera

    Still no way to turn off notification sounds in the Chrome extension. What's up with that?

    • Iván Estévez

      For now you have to do it one by one

      • Keerthi Madapusi Pera

        How do you even do it one by one?

        • Iván Estévez

          In the chat window, clic the hear and disable Notifications

    • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

      Does - open extension, click the drop down arrow on the right and choose "Snooze notifications" not work then?

      • Keerthi Madapusi Pera

        Yes, but I don't want to snooze notifications. I just want them to be silent. I can see the flashing green at the bottom of my screen. Don't need an annoying pinging sound to accompany it.

  • GazaIan

    Can't even install it, the version on the Play Store matches the version on my phone, even though they're two totally different apps. The Play Store claims it's already installed, but all I have is Talk.

    • mauric

      Remove GTalk and it should install correctly, just pulled mine from the play store.

      • GazaIan

        I figured I'd have to do that. But I'm not rooted, usually I only root to install an AOSP ROM. But, I have a Nexus 4, so it's kind of unnecessary. Ill root and delete it, but honestly I shouldn't have to do all that to enjoy this nice new app.

    • c0ruptiv3

      If you go to the web store and push it to your phone from there it should work :)

      • GazaIan

        It doesn't, it tells me it's installed already.

  • kax54638

    I am a bit confused on who can I contact using Hangouts. In the list of all my contacts I can send a message to some of them that have only a yahoo or hotmail account but no Google+ or Gmail. On other contacts I just get to invite them to Hangouts. Any ideas?

  • Christopher Heidt

    Google Talk isn't changing over to Hangouts on my wife's Galaxy S2 (Virgin Mobile), even though it says it has on the Play Store... Is this BC she had it installed when she got the phone?

  • googlre10

    Am still on ginger bread. I don't get hangoutS in play store. Still it's google talk..

  • Cherokee4Life

    I am more upset that I never heard the words "Key Lime Pie" today....

  • DoubleP90


    APK for those who can't install it from the play store

    • LaRocKa1158

      Will this update with future updates... Like is it official? (Might be a dumb question?

  • JonJJon

    Is the Messenger+ app (Google+ messenger app) meant to have disappeared after installing it as it is still there on my phone?

    • http://twitter.com/naysayer1111 naysayer

      No, it's part of G+. It will only dissappear if Google releases a G+ app without it.

      • JonJJon

        Fair dos, thanks.

  • Uunnzz

    The real bummer is that they crippled GTalk just to add emoji and the ability to send pictures. There is no contact list anymore (unless you use the Chrome extension), and you can't see if someone is online or not. I also like how G+ Messenger is still there, and GMail still has chat which are both unchanged. It makes no sense. It's another half-baked product from Google. Very disappointing.

    • http://twitter.com/naysayer1111 naysayer

      It's still rolling out. Also, that the G+ messenger is still there has little to do with Hangouts (They want to port the conversation history).

  • http://www.facebook.com/timgee86 Tim Gueusquin

    you can finally long press and copy text. But now you can't start just voice calls. Bummer.

  • Alphajoe

    If you want to install the Update but the play store won't let you, its easy if your device is rooted:

    Choose an app that lets you uninstall system apps (such as Titanium Backup), search for the Talk app and uninstall it.

    Afterwards you can easily install the new version from the play store. Easy as that.

  • Kelly Walter

    I can't get it to work. My husband has a Galaxy Rugby Pro and I have a Galaxy S III, both on AT&T, and we can't even video chat with each other or SMS. Nothing works. We've tried uninstalling and reinstalling, clearing both cache and data and making sure we are linked in Google +. I don't know why it won't work or what to do next. Any help would be appreciated, seems like a cool app if it'll work!