Google Hangouts hasn't had any major changes since its debut earlier this summer, but the latest version of the app adds some interesting tweaks. Google's new, annoying habit of staged rollouts means that a lot of people don't' have access to the updated app, even though it started becoming available on the 23rd. The indefatigable Ron Amadeo had a look inside, and found it to be a housecleaning update, with a lot of tightened code and only a few new features.

2013-07-25 08.12.10 2013-07-25 08.15.32

The user interface has been given a few tweaks, most notably a slightly updated animation for the emoji insert and bigger, better YouTube thumbnails. Placeholder profile picks have been given a splash of red coloring as well. If you've confirmed your cell phone number with Hangouts and also have a Google Voice number associated with your phone, you'll see both in the settings menu.

Ron also found some references to a "Pano Launcher," which has popped up in Google Play Services before. This doesn't appear to be part of anything functional just yet. At the time of writing there's no official changelog for 1.1.

If you don't see the update to version 1.1 of Hangouts, you may want to just hold tight - everyone should be included in the rollout over the next few days. It's not as if you're missing anything big . If you just can't wait, the APK is available for download and manual installation here

Source: Ron Amadeo

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    "Google's new, annoying habit of staged rollouts"

    Thank god somebody thinks it's annoying, so far all Google Fanboys are so understanding -_- it's annoying end of.

    • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

      lol no one likes them apart from the ones who get it first :P

      • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

        Well whenever i complain about the staged roll outs on here i get down voted like crazy and then people telling me reasons behind it like i don't know.

        • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

          I have an idea how about we pray to the play store god that give them the update at the very end!!!?

      • http://www.prosoftstudio.com/ Brandon Enriquez

        So true, haha exactly what I was thinking. Whenever I hear staged rollout and don't see the update on my device, head straight to Android Police website and normally find the APK.

    • hoosiercub88

      You guys are too effin needy. You'll get it, the world is not going to come to an end. Chill out.

    • Joe Betsill

      It's annoying to those of us who want it *now now now*, but those of us who want it *now now now* also have the technical knowhow to just sideload it.

      • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

        Already did days ago from Ron's g+ feed but still the whole process is annoying, you have to admit.

        • Joe Betsill

          It definitely is. They should push an official link to download directly. That way they can at least track the numbers.

          • Royal2000H

            Even better: they should have an opt-in for first release. Like the beta opt-in but for final releases.

    • Nathan Borup

      Staged roll outs is what any good software vendor does in case of catastrophe. Microsoft has sent out windows updates plenty of time only to cause millions of windows users to bluescreen. Google is doing this 1. To prevent everyone from the possibility of having issues and 2. Because with billions of users, rolling out new software to everyone would be quite the task, and take down a lot of their resources until it is complete... so don't complain about staged rollouts, they're good for everyone. In my opinion they should have a group of people that are willing to be the new software testers that we could sign up for, much like the beta app program that google play has

    • Danny Holyoake

      I really hope Google add in something for people 'like us'. As in, say if you manually go to the Play Store listing for an app you can force the update. That way, people in-the-know can get the update.

    • Raymond Berger

      Staged rollouts are great overall but it sucks for people like the people on Android Police. Google should just have an option for techy users to opt in for earlier updates :)

    • NoBullet

      Theyre staged rollouts because of there's a major bug, only a few are affected and can be removed quickly. Not a fanboy, just have some common sense.

  • Syd

    Have they improved the look and control over all of the contacts they force into the hangouts address list? I'm still using the last version of talk currently cause of that.

  • Daniel Box

    It's a shame that hangouts is so deeply integrated into G+. It's great, if all your friends and family use G+, which mine don't.

    • Joe Betsill

      It's no different than asking them to sign up for Skype, or AIM, or WhatsApp. They don't actually have to use G+, GMail, Youtube, Drive, etc.

      • Daniel Box

        Those aren't social networks though?

        • Joe Betsill

          Well, I guess that depends on the definition of "social network". Either way, just because they're signed up for G+ doesn't mean they have to use it. Hangouts doesn't *need* G+, it just happens that signing up for a Google Account gives you access to everything Google makes.

          • didibus

            Not really, signing up to a Google Account doesn't give you access to G+ and Gmail, until you activate those.

            Also, WhatsApp does not require you to signup for an account, because it uses your phone number.

            Also, G+ requires a lot of information about you, I would greatly prefer a Hangouts app that on sign up only want a Username and a password, that's it. Maybe a phone number if it wants to do SMS integration, but I don't see why it can't get it from my phone.

          • Joe Betsill

            I've had a Google+ account the whole time, so I don't know what requirements are needed to purely use Hangouts. I helped my friend (who doesn't use Google+, but has Android) set it up on his phone, and it used his Google Login and asked for his number.

            My point is that it's not uncommon to ask friends and family to use a specific service to keep in touch, when it comes to other services-- I am unclear why the rules change with asking people to have a Google account.

            Oh, and WhatsApp _is_ making an account for you, it just uses your phone number at the identifying information, instead of an email.

          • andy_o

            The point is that many, maybe most, people won't be bothered. Do you think you would have had to help your friend setting up a Whatsapp "account"? The fact that your friend has already an Android phone makes it even worse, since he didn't have to open a Google account, but many on other platforms will have to do that extra step, which is the most annoying one.

          • Joe Betsill

            To be honest, 95% of the people I know have a gmail account-- even my iPhone friends, and I'm the only "geek" of the group. You're right, someone on a compuserve email address running a blackberry is probably not going to have a smooth transition.

            This comes back to the point I've been making-- if someone can't go through the "hassle" of making a Google account, they're lazy. It's no different than going through the "hassle" of making a Skype account, or *ahem* A Disqus Account. The sky is not falling.

          • andy_o

            The problem is that there's no sufficient incentive for them to open an account and overcome that laziness. Skype was a novelty back when it acquired most of its users, and it offered free US calls for quite a while (of course you can do that now with GV but it's a considerable hassle and it doesn't require hangouts on the phone). And even if they have one, they might not be using it at all, and even could have forgotten their password (I know several people whom I've helped with their Android phones and are like that).

            You may be right that people are lazy, and if that's the problem, then that's still a problem here. In order to use Hangouts, you have to make people overcome their laziness, which apparently is no problem for them if they're installing something like Whatsapp or Viber.

          • Joe Betsill

            Haha, well, you have three options. Install it for them, be interesting enough that they want to communicate with you and install it themselves, or make new friends. :-P

          • andy_o

            And why should I have to bear the burden now? See what we're saying? Most of us already communicate with those lazy people via multiple other services that are easier to get going and/or offer more features. The incentive or ease of use (or ideally both) have to come from the app, not from me.

          • Joe Betsill

            Oh, I see.

            Because hangouts is better than all those others combined. There is no other service that gives you free group chat, group video, one-on-one chat, one-on-one video, multi-platform, screen sharing, picture sharing, document collaboration, etc. You can have all that by using a handful of apps (maybe), or you can get it all in one app.

            It seems simple to me, but some people still use AOL, so maybe recognizing a better service when it presents itself isn't a universal trait. ;-)

          • andy_o

            Sure, but in my opinion (and others judging from the posts) when you look deeper into those features, they're half-assed. The biggest problem for me is the contact list which lists all your contacts without the ability to discern who's using it. Picture sharing doesn't have zoom, and emoticons are small. I know at least some people who use Line or Kakao because of their stickers, and of course because they're just install-and-use.

            I said incentive before, but I'm thinking ease of set up is what would drive more people. My bet is even if you publicized all those features, people still would be more likely to install something like Whatsapp. It's true that all those features are great to have, but other apps do most of them better.

            And it's not like I don't like it, I do but at this point I can't get friends to join when there are the other easier alternatives.

          • Joe Betsill

            Whatsapp has video and a desktop client?

          • andy_o

            No, I'm saying that other apps do those individual features better and easier. It's no problem to use Whatsapp for chat, and your existing Skype account for video or audio, which most people don't even use that frequently. Or even Tango, which I don't even like but I have more friends on it than Talk/Hangouts.

            BTW, I'd have similar criticisms about Skype if it had come out recently, but it did when these easy to install alternatives weren't around and it was pretty much the only game in town.

          • Joe Betsill

            So, you're under the impression that services shouldn't require you to make accounts to use them?

          • andy_o

            If they want many users to switch from other, easier to use services, yes. You can find my similar bitchings about Skype on Skype threads. Most of my friends and I are using Viber now to VoIP.

          • Joe Betsill

            Those services you mention are making an account for you-- they just use a phone number instead of an email address. Why the distinction? On android, Hangout does the same exact thing.. it grabs your email address and asks for a (pre populated) phone number (so people who only have your number can find you) and you're set. iOS doesn't have direct access to your google account email, so obviously they have to ask for it. Have you tried setting up hangouts on iOS or Web without having a Google Account? If it's anything like what it used to be, they probably ask for an email, a phone number, and a username. What's so hard about that?

            Long story short: Your complaint isn't reasonable. You might as well be complaining that they require you to have electricity.

          • andy_o

            Hey, I'm already using Hangouts, I'm not the one to be swayed. It's not a matter of having an account per se, it's the ease of set up. Whatsapp does it automatically, and more importantly doesn't require a password.

          • Joe Betsill

            Whatsapp is only on a phone. If you get a new number you get a new account, or if you want to use it on a desktop, it's useless. They've set it up to be easy, but that setup also limits them. I assure you that if they tried to get into a web client, you'd have to supply a password at the very least, and they'd probably ask for a email address.

            There is no possible way to have Hangout's features without making an account of some type.

          • andy_o

            I think we agree that we like hangouts. What I don't agree it's that most people would be swayed from other services. The MySpace analogy fails because it was a website with a lot of problems. Time will tell.

          • andy_o

            Also, don't forget how late Hangouts is here. You're not asking people to just start using a service, you're asking them to switch to it from something else that already works perfectly for them.

          • Joe Betsill

            Did you use MySpace? Do you still use MySpace? ;-)

            I've never had a problem switching to a new service when a better one comes along. I also would rather use one app that does 10 things well than 10 apps that do one thing well.

          • didibus

            When I moved to Hangouts, it didn't fill in my phone number for me. Also, the phone number verification SMS has never worked, even though I tried more than 20 times now, with weeks apart each attempts sometimes.

            You can not audio chat on Hangouts, that's one big missing feature.

            I've started conversations with people on Hangouts, and never received a reply from them, until I eventually figured out, they don't even have Hangouts, so off course they will never reply to me. Hangouts made me lose my time here.

            The "notification" to know at which point the other person is in the thread does not work properly. It shows different positions in my Gmail and in my Phone.

            I can not collaborate on Documents in Hangout. I can not send files over Hangout. I can not send videos over Hangout. It does not have a Desktop client, it has a web client. I can not tell who is online or offline (annoying for PC chat). Hangouts populates one of my Google+ albums with Hangouts pictures. Why is this in my Google+, I could understand putting them in Google Drive, since Drive is my cloud storage, where archives should go to. I can't even make phone calls with Hangout.

            With Skype, for example, apart from having a giant head start, Skype let's me chat, video chat, video group chat, audio call phones or other skype user, audio group calls, send files, pictures, videos, to other users. I can even screen share and group screen share. With Skype, I can also video chat and chat with Facebook users. Skype even has voice mail.

            Whatsapp as another example, let's me send video, pictures, files, and chat to people. It also allows for voice messages.

            But, yes, the biggest difference, apart from the bugs and lack of feature Hangouts possess, is the annoying and complicated entry point, that requires too many steps. I am ok with requiring a Username and Password, or an Email and Password. This is needed to use it on the web also, or tablets, or cross phones. And an optional phone number if you want SMS integration (which it is lacking btw) is also ok. Anything more is too much. Just like app permissions sometimes ask for too much for no good reason and I complain, there is no reason for Hangouts to ask anything more of me.

            Might sounds like a lot of complaint, but honestly, this is good critic on my part, I'm a Google fanboy, but I'm not a dumb follower, I need them to solve those issues, I will always give Hangouts a chance every new update, but the problems with it right now, are too much for me to use it, and impossible for my non Google fanboy friends to be convinced.

          • khsharpe

            “Because hangouts is better than all those others combined.”
            “Whatsapp has video and a desktop client?”
            the things WhatsApp offers work 1st time / every time for me. I can’t remember a single negative experience i’ve had using WhatsApp. I cannot remember a single day when using Hangouts wasn’t a never ending ongoing misery, I’ve now junked it and have gone back to using google Talk. If i’ve had any negative experiences with Talk i can’t remember them. It really doesn’t matter what Hangouts offers if it simply works so poorly

            “It seems simple to me, but some people still use AOL, so maybe recognizing a better service when it presents itself isn't a universal trait.“
            i just checked the google Play page for Hangouts, specifically the reviews. There have been 50,238 5-Star reviews and 38,835 1-Star reviews. Given my experience with Hangouts those other 38,834 people that gave it 1 star are entirely justified in their dislike. Considering those figures i can’t help but see your attempt to invalidate our experiences as ill informed and condescending

          • CoreRooted

            I have an account that I use with Hangouts that DOESN'T have a G+ account (I always skip the "Join Google Plus" buttons). I can still chat with that account without an issue.

          • didibus

            OH cool, I didn't know. Do your hangouts still get archived? And can you retrieve pictures that you got or sent out from hangouts somewhere?

        • CuriousCursor

          You don't *have* to use it as a social network.

      • andy_o

        Whatsapp doesn't require a user name and password. Pretty much install and use. That's a big difference.

        • s_bomb

          True, but Whatsapp doesn't work on tablets (or officially on desktops), also a big difference.

          • andy_o

            I don't think nearly as big. Of course I can only talk from experience, but I could only get one friend to install and use Hangouts, while I see acquaintances pop up on services like Tango, Viber, Line and even Kakao all the time. All of those only require the app install and no invitations.

          • AnthX

            Can't you just receive the SMS confirmation on another phone? WhatsApp won't know otherwise since it's all internet based after initial verification

          • s_bomb

            I don't think so, I haven't tried any workarounds because my tablet isn't rooted and immediately upon opening the app, it gives a warning about not being compatible with tablets. Maybe there is a way by editing the build.prop or something to trick the app into thinking it's on a phone.

  • Diego Rotterdam

    is there anyway to even tell if someone is online?

    • Benjamin Pavel

      It's been said many times already...when the avatar of a person looks grayish they are offline but when it's colorful they are online.

      • dffx

        Also said many times before: it's way too subtle. It doesn't give any significant feedback, and if someone's icon is sufficiently desaturated normally, then it REALLY doesn't work.

        • andy_o

          Plus it doesn't tell you who actually is using the goddamn service in the first place.

          • TimTheK

            I refuse to "update" Talk to Hangouts until they address the "online" and contact ordering issue.

          • Jaredsutter

            This is the biggest thing for me. I have friends on G+, but I don't want to just start messaging them on Hangouts unless I know that they actually wish to use it. I don't care who is online at this moment, but I would like to know if they have expressed interest in using Hangouts as a messaging service by, you know, downloading the app.

      • xnifex

        ok, but is there a distinction between online & away?

    • umer936

      For me, it shows a little green bar under their picture if they are online

  • lordmerovingian

    Still using the old Talk. That's how I roll..

    • xnifex

      me too! i don't like that the new one won't let you stay invisible or show people's status.

      • DX89B

        You can stay invisible you set Snooze notification so you don't receive notifications anymore. Then if someone writes you can both read the message if you think that's is important or let the message unread. If the people on the other side see that you haven't read the message understand that you are offline, more than this there is the fact that if you are invisible, on the other side your contact will looks greyish so the people understand you are offline.

        • xnifex

          yep, this is just dumb & hangouts (along with other "newer" google apps) are a step down from their predecessor.

  • Kilimanjaro

    I hope this removes G+ messanger from my apps.

    • Hothfox

      It doesn't, FYI.

      • Kilimanjaro

        I figured that much. Wish they would remove it already as it just forces you to open hangouts.

        • Joe Betsill

          They're (slowly) moving over all your old Messenger Conversations into hangouts, or so I read on Google+ somewhere. It will get axed after that.

          • mgamerz

            The carrier pidgeons got lost.

    • Pratik Holla

      why does that still exist????

  • mgamerz

    Obligatory post about Google ignoring Google voice

    • Scott

      They had better not let that service go, so much potential.

      • dffx

        they can't let it go, too many people rely on it for day to day work. my main number is my gvoice number.

        • s_bomb

          I agree, but any reliance based on a free service has its pitfalls, whether for business or pleasure. I've got business cards and custom-made luggage tags using my GV number, so I'll be rather annoyed as well if it joins Reader and the rest in the Google graveyard..

          • mgamerz

            The way its getting hardcore neglected like reader got before it died makes me think its going to happen to voice as well. The blog hasn't had any updates since christmas, and that was a fake update anyways.

          • wildkarrde21

            I remember hearing that it was a way for Google to refine their voice recognition algorithms (via the voicemail transcription), which we see the result of in Google voice searches. Not sure if they're continuing that effort or not...

            It doesn't seem like they use the same voice recognition for transcription, as my voicemail transcripts are largely more miss than hit.

  • blackjesus

    Did they finally add the option to see the online status? Oh no they didn't...

    • Alex Treviño

      Status has been there since day one, they only changed it to something more subtle.

      • TimTheK

        That's half true...and what they've done is mostly useless. Talk was much easier to use and much more sensible. Green: online, Orange: logged in but away, Red: offline. And most importantly, your Online and available contacts would appear at the top of the list. I don't have to scroll through 400 contacts to see if their picture is clear or blurry and then determine their status.

        • AndroidUser01

          I've been quite annoyed by the lack of ability to see who's online. But maybe this is because they will be adding SMS support (eventually)? Since SMS isn't "Instant Messaging" like the old talk, you don't really need to see a status. You send a message/text to them through hangouts and they respond whenever. I've been curious to see how they are going to handle integrating SMS support and the old talk

          • andy_o

            Still you need to see who is using the service and has the app installed. With SMS it's implied that if you have a mobile number you have SMS ability, even though very few people don't have texting plans.

          • AndroidUser01

            That's a very good point. Regardless. This update does nothing to answer those questions. People are complaining about not having the update yet but it doesn't add any value or functionality. Lame.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            True. Another case - I have nothing important to say but want to just chitchat with my friends. For that, I need to see who's online. I don't want to send SMS to them if they are offline..!! i.e. I want to initiate the conversation only if they are online.

        • Talk trumps hangouts

          Red: busy, Grey: offline. And importantly an option to remain invisible if necessary.

  • Eric Anderson

    Perhaps Pano Launcher refers to the new type of launcher Google created with Google Glass? To me it almost seems like a pano-ramic style launcher. Could this be a foreshadow of major changes to come to Android?

  • AndroidUser01

    Really? Months after the initial (busted) release, this is all we get? No SMS support? Still have difficulty deciphering who is online and still unable to make only voice calls on android. Come on google!!!!

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      i really don't understand the need to know who's online. Will that change who you talk to? I don't even use it in facebook. I just send the message, and when they get the chance, they'll read it.

      • andy_o

        Except those people who aren't even using the service at all in the first place, and which still show up in the contacts with no way to discern them from the ones who are using it.

        • CoreRooted

          If you try to start a hangout with the ones that aren't using the service, it prompts you to invite them either by email or phone number. If they have a G+ profile, it starts a hangout with them. So, what's the problem with that?

          • Roger

            CoreRooted, you seem to refuse to acknowledge that many users are indeed facing genuine issues with the Hangouts app. If everything about the app was so simple and perfect, why are so many users unhappy or regretting they updated from GTalk?

          • CoreRooted

            I'm not refusing to acknowledge that people are having issues. I know full well there are issues with the platform. What I am not understanding is what people are having issues with. Technical issues, I totally get. However, changes in paradigm are something that I don't understand the complaints about. Online status is one of those paradigms that make no sense in this day and age. 90% of the people in my contacts can be contacted in a plethora of ways (text, voice, video, chat, social media, etc). Just because I cannot see their status in chat (which is incorrect in and of itself; I can still see their status in Hangouts) doesn't mean they are cut off from the world. It just means they are not instantly available on that particular platform.

            To me, the majority of complaints are more about change rather than technical issues. People hate it, yet they want innovation and new features. We cannot have both. It really boils down to that and to complain about those things makes no sense to me.

          • Roger

            The online status may not matter or make sense to you, but it does to many other people for whatever reason they prefer to have it (and this is no small number if you care to read the Google Play reviews for the Hangouts app). Do you consider it innovative to mess up a feature that people found useful?

            And online status is just one of the plethora of problems people are facing with Hangouts.

            The issue here is not about having a number of ways to contact someone as you mention. It is the obstinate manner in which Goolge is compelling users to accept convoluted changes to its apps for core and widely used services. They don't seem to care much about feedback any longer, in their quest for "more wood behind fewer arrows". Remember Reader?

          • CoreRooted

            I do agree with your points. I've read through about 200+ comments on Play. Most of them are complaints about change, not usability, per se. The core features of the app are still there and functional. Granted, voice and video have gotten all wacky since going to Hangouts. But, you can still initiate a chat and/or voice/video call. Everything that we could do in Talk is still there.

            In addition, this is and always has been a free service Google provides to us. If we don't like the changes, we don't have to use the service. There are literally dozens of alternatives out there. That speaks volumes louder than complaints about this feature or that feature being gone.

            Again, it boils down to people want change, but they don't want change.

          • Roger

            Sometimes, change can impede or hamper usability.

            Core features of the app may be there as you say, but the app itself is pretty messed up. Google could have (and probably should have) refined it before rolling it out. The undue haste in doing so is similar to what Apple did with it's Maps app.

            And though it is a free service, it is a widely used one. It isn't fair that just because Google knows it has people hooked to the service, it gives them a raw deal.

            Even if people do switch to an alternative, they will probably need to have their other chat contacts switch as well.

            Or, they may as well just call them by phone whenever they wish to contact them without bothering about whether they are online, right? :)

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            This entire conversation revolved around "everyone having an online device almost all the time". Assumption here is - everyone you want to contact is in the same geo location. How about different time zones? Say someone in USA wants to chat with someone in Hong Kong. Nothing important; just chitchat. They will do so if only the other person is 'online'. It might be midnight in Hong Kong. The other person might be online or might be fast asleep. Difficult to deuce in hangout. Now you see value of clearly seeing the 'online' or not thing?

          • khsharpe

            " I've read through about 200+ comments on Play. Most of them are complaints about change, not usability, per se. "

            i'm not sure where you live but here on Planet Earth your statement is so patently incorrect i can now belive in parallel universes. I've just gone to the google Play page for the Hangouts app. In the first 55 reviews using the Newest First filter only 9 are enthusiastic while around 39 have given either 1 or 2 stars. If they articulate their distaste for this app, it's all about usability, not change ....

            *don’t get notification for most of my IMS’s
            *very poor implementation compared to talk
            *can’t remove unwanted contacts, can’t customise
            *force closes on me when i try to do a hangout
            *lacking sms integration
            *can’t swipe between conversations ... makes you go back to hangout list EVERY TIME ... makes multiple conversations very difficult and time consuming
            *i want to see who’s online in my contact list
            *irritating having a circle appear in the middle of my contact ... also a bunch of emails from some of my contacts that appear as separate contacts and i am getting duplicate contacts
            *Talk was fast easy to use and simple. Hangouts is slow cluttered and confusing
            *it takes my wife 5 minutes it get my message when i am sitting next to her ... Video chats are super laggy as well ... Contact list is not useful at all ... If i uninstalland go back to Talk there is a noticeable performance increase
            *my contacts suddenly disappear and some people i never saw are showed on the list ... it’s not fairto FORCE the users to create a profile on a social network if they just don’t want to!!!

            my personal experience of this mad dog's breakfast of an app is similar to all of the above. In addition i've used 4 keyboards to try and find one that didn't constantly mistype cos of exaggerated lag or fail to send the last word unless i did a slow count to 5 before i hit send. And then send that last owrd at the beginning of my next send. It is not remotely about change at all, it is 100% about this having the shittiest usabilty experience of any app i have ever used in 4 years of android fones. And that ... is impressive!

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            Read the entire thread. This is my observation too. "Nobody say anything wrong about hangout. la-la-la-la-la-la".

          • Ajith

            Read the reviews of the Hangouts app on Google Play.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            I did. Rating of 3.2. Possibly the worst rated Google app. What's your point?

            I'm guessing you misread my comment. I agreed with Roger that CoreRooted is not acknowledging that there are issues other users are bothered about. The string in quote is my interpretation of CoreRooted's take on this.

          • Ajith

            Then you should have posted in reply to CoreRooted, not Roger. Or phrased your post properly.

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            Now you are just trolling. I replied to Roger that I agree with him and this is what I think the other guy is acting like. Roger is the proper person to reply to in that case, not the other guy.

          • andy_o

            The problem is that in practice it doesn't work. I've started several conversations with people whom hangouts didn't offer to send invitations to that don't have Google+ (and of course none of them knew about it). Also, people are far less likely to answer canned invitations that look like spam via text or email. I know I never bother with those.

          • CoreRooted

            You're absolutely correct about the spam. I'm not sure if it was an issue with the old version or not, but the last 5 I just tested all got either a text or email. 3 of them didn't get them though because it went to their junk folder (understandable). I'm running the new version, btw.

      • ins0mn1a

        it would be good to know, since what you are communicating might depend on whether it would be a real time chat or not. generally, if i don't need/expect an answer right away, i will probably just send an email.

        • CoreRooted

          How does the knowing the person's status help there? If you send a message to the person, they get a notification, same as they would from an email. So, what difference does it make if there is an online indicator or not?

          • ins0mn1a

            if they are online, they are more likely to see the notification, reply to your message and engage in real time chat. if they are not, the chances are higher you will get a delayed reply. now you are also right, the lines between online and not online are heavily blurred these days that everyone is pretty much semi-online all the time.

          • CoreRooted

            Exactly and that's my point. Most of us have some sort of device around us nearly 100% of the time. The whole concept of online and offline is very quickly becoming antiquated.

      • George Varghese

        Yes online presence does change who I talk to. If I see a person is online, I will initiate a video call. If I have no idea who is online, I am not going to initiate a call with a random person hoping that he/she is online

        • CoreRooted

          So, in that vein, when you call someone on the phone, do you know that they are there and available to accept the call? Chances are no. You initiate the call and hope that they are available to accept it. How does video and their online status change that? Plus, most of us have notifications, right? When someone tries to video call me and I'm not in front of the computer, I get a notification and I get to the computer to answer it.

          • George Varghese

            Online presence allows for more casual conversations. To give an analogy, chatting with a person who is online is like meeting a friend while you are out for a walk. Calling a person on phone is like going to your friend's house and knocking on his door to tell him something. If you need to convey something really important, online presence doesn't matter. You just send them the message or call on the phone and you know they will get the message or return the call. But for less important stuff where you just want to keep in touch, online presence does make a big difference in the conversations you initiate.

          • CoreRooted

            It's exactly that paradigm that is the issue. Why should my online status matter to someone wanting to contact me or not? I have a lot of people online that I'll "bump" into in a thread in some forum and we'll take that over to a chat to catch up. Seeing that they are online or offline has zero effect on that. Even with a status indicator, I've gotten literally thousands of "Hey, are you around?" messages on Talk in the past when my online status was showing me as available (I'm willing to bet I am not the only one either). So, what difference did it make that my status showed me online and available and people still asked if I was available?

            Plus, if Hangouts acts like iMessage (which is one platform that Google is trying to compete with), it won't matter if you are online or not as the system will decide the best way to deliver a message based upon your availability. So, online status becomes irrelevant at that point.

          • sirtao

            SMS aren't free for everybody, you know?
            Also, it will become a moot point(maybe) only _WHEN_(if) it will start acting like iMessage.
            As of right now, it doesn't act like iMessage, lacking the SMS support, making the onlineoffline status indicator actually USEFUL for many people like I and my contacts.

          • CoreRooted

            True. Valid point about SMS.

  • http://pctonic.net/ Ashutosh Mishra

    I hope Google has made it faster and smoother. I keep it locked down with App Quarantine, because it completely overwhelms my poor little Nexus S.

  • Eric Mendes

    "If you've confirmed your cell phone number with Hangouts and also have a Google Voice number associated with your phone, you'll see both in the settings menu."

    What does this mean? Is there any Voice integration? I feel like that would have been a bigger announcement.

    • A6

      I agree... This is the most interesting statement in the article.

  • Harsha

    Anyone feels that hangouts is slower when opening conversation and also receives messages not that fast? (when compared to WhatsApp)

  • Tanveer Huq

    Pano Launcher sounds like it's going to be a built in viewer for panoramas/photospheres right in hangouts.

  • John

    Wow. Still no zooming available on images? What. The. Fuck?

  • bL4Ck

    Mine updated two days ago, now is version, prolly I'm set, no need to update.

  • Kazutaka Muraki

    I dont know if i am the only one, but I seem to have "lag" problems with hangouts, like yesterday, that messages didnt show up on my cellphone until hours later, and i know this is a problem with my phone, because on desktop it works like it should...
    Am I the only one?

  • TechGuy

    Lets hope we can zoom in on pictures in this new version.

  • Jim Smith

    Hangouts seems to be Google's poor attempt to force G+ on Talk users while seeking to increase the G+ user base numbers. Google could have easily incorporated some of the Hangouts app functionality such as the Whatsapp-esque ability to post photos or videos in a chat into Talk, if they wanted to improve it, instead of just replacing the whole app with this poorly received new one. The deluge of negative Google Play reviews and one star ratings for Hangouts are there for all to see. Doesn't seem like Google is paying heed though. A pity!

    • mgamerz

      I like how out of the blue it came to google apps. Since it relies on G+, which I am sure most organizations block from their google apps, the talk plugin updated, and it broke for everyone. It's a real pain in the ass.

    • David

      Very true !!!

    • CoreRooted

      Actually, they couldn't. The XMPP protocol is almost 15 years old and even with the RFCs that came along with it, trying to keep Talk on the same backend has become more and more difficult. The only way to compete with Apple's iMessage platform and give users what they have asked for for years now (integrated SMS, Voice, and real-time chat), they had to develop a new platform. Plus, trying to integrate SMS, voice, and media into XMPP is a pain (I know from experience. I worked on a 2 year project to merge text and binary data in the same stream on XMPP. It was a nightmare).

      • Retrograde

        Maybe. But the voice element (VoIP) and real-time chat already existed in Talk. While SMS still doesn't in Hangouts. Also, by cutting off the open standard XMPP, a Google account user cannot chat with an non-Google account user any longer, even through Hangouts. How does that help?

        • CoreRooted

          The VoIP component in Talk didn't go over XMPP. It was a proprietary protocol that Google implemented with Wave. However, I don't think they are dropping XMPP per se, but changing the backend to something a lot more robust. XMPP is great for what it does, but in order to give users the features they want, Google had to implement a richer backend than XMPP by itself could provide. In doing that, it required a near complete rewrite of Talk which is essentially what they have done with Hangouts.

          • Retrograde

            Google has dropped XMPP.


          • CoreRooted

            Holy crap... I never saw that! Well... yeah, that sucks. But, it actually supports my argument. There was no technical way to give users what they have been requesting with the existing architecture. But, like every Google app, Hangouts will be in beta for years to come and will change. Of that, we can be certain.

  • Roberto Giunta

    Still staying with GTalk until I see something that changes my mind...

  • Babs Oyed

    Pretty disappointing update. They need to quickly implement SMS and GV integration. Why is it taking so long and how hard could it possibly be?

    • CoreRooted

      Uh, let's see. Have you ever tried to integrate a service (that has MILLIONS of users, BTW) into another platform? Google is supporting billions of users and devices. You really want them to rush through integrating something as critical as SMS into a platform without fully testing it and making it rock solid? How about for areas that have SMS integrated into their 911 systems? Would you really want your SMS not to work in an emergency situation?

      They only announced that they would be integrating SMS and GV in May. It isn't like they have been working on this for years now (although, I suspect they started development back in 2011).

      • Peacen1k

        You're def. right about rushing through development creating WTF kind of problems. Many of Google's recent products are a case in point: new Maps, new web-based Playstore, Hangouts.

        Wish they'd spend more time on the drawing board before downgrading established product features for the sake of more shiney.

        • CoreRooted

          Exactly. With something as critical as SMS (especially since more and more 911 centers are implementing SMS communication for emergency situations), I would rather them take their time and perfect it (or as nearly as they can) than rush the functionality out and break it or make it unreliable.

  • KRS_Won

    Pano launcher ... Now send and see photospheres in Hangouts, without having to send via gmail and the other person save, and only be able to view if they have the new gallery app installed.
    Yea. Win.

  • Frawlz

    I can take a panorama of an orgy and share it in real time with my hangouts!

    Now I have to find an orgy. Suggestions?

  • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

    I don't mind the staged rollouts, but mostly because we can count on AndroidPolice to have an APK link for us almost instantly every time ;)

  • KrisDiss

    Lost count of the number of times I asked this but does anyone else have to manually scroll to see the last message they typed?

    • KrisDiss

      And if yes, is this fixed?

      • CoreRooted

        I have noticed it on my tablets, never on my phones. I haven't been able to test if it's fixed or not.

    • basteagow

      Haven't gotten the update yet, but I did experience this in the first version. It'd also fail to show the last message *received* sometimes, and I wouldn't even notice there was one until I manually scrolled up and back down.

      • KrisDiss

        Oh great! Funny thing, shared agony. It doesnt solve anything and yet..

  • duse

    I want to like Hangouts but it's a slow POS on my Gnex. If it got booted from memory, which it frequently does, it takes 5+ seconds to start up next time I open it. And then it lags while I type. Frustrating as hell, but I'm hoping they integrate Google Voice SMS into it soon and that it performs a lot better on the next phone I buy.

  • gmplr831

    Just had to comment and say I loved the use of the word indefatigable! reminds me of this


  • Peter

    1.1.1 dated 25th July is now rolling out.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Thanks for reminding me that I had downgraded to hangout when it was released. I see still no "hangout to hangout" or "hangout to gtalk" (mobile or computer) call option. And please don't 'inform' me about the "video call and turn off video" option. Too clunky. Uninstalling the 'update' to go back to GTalk.