30
Sep
hangouts

Hangouts was one of many Google apps that received pretty significant updates last week. Version 1.2 finally brought availability statuses for people on your contact list, better organization of contacts, and several other improvements. Under-the-hood, however, I spotted a few more additions that don't seem to be live just yet, which is exactly what we have APK teardowns around here for.

Hey, you. Yes, you. Don't forget to check out the Gmail teardown I did on Saturday and voice your opinion on ads that are coming to the Android app.

Some history

Back in the wonderful days of Google Talk, you could set an online status (Available, Busy, Invisible) along with a custom status message. After "upgrading" Google Talk to Hangouts, we lost all ability to set a status. Hell, we didn't even have online status indicators for people in the contact list for over 4 months until the last update.

Remember these? They were nice, weren't they?

image

Good old Google Talk

While using Google Talk, you used to be able to hover on a contact and see the status (on the left). Now, with Hangouts, no status for you (on the right).

image image

Left: Google Talk; right: Hangouts

Google knows that Hangouts lacks pretty basic features, and it looks like the team has been working on bringing them back, with a vengeance. Say hello to rich statuses.

To support the rich status claim, we have a number of new files:

  • rich_status_settings_menu.xml
  • rich_status_settings_toggle.xml
  • rich_status_settings.xml

From what I can tell, the functionality isn't fully baked yet, but it has at least two distinct components besides the usual status message. They are moods and activities.

Activity Statuses

It looks like you will be able to set various activities as part of your rich status. They are: biking, call, car, laptop, mobile, tablet, video, and walking. I'm not sure if these will be fully automated or manual, but it's definitely possible for Hangouts to figure them all out without ever asking you.

Call, laptop, mobile, tablet, and video are obvious - they're part of the app's environment on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Biking, car, and walking can be easily and efficiently discovered using the relatively new Activity recognition API.

Here are all the new icons I found in the APK:

  • ic_active_status_biking.png
  • ic_active_status_call.png
  • ic_active_status_car.png
  • ic_active_status_laptop.png
  • ic_active_status_mobile.png
  • ic_active_status_tablet.png
  • ic_active_status_video.png
  • ic_active_status_walking.png

ic_active_status_biking ic_active_status_call ic_active_status_car ic_active_status_laptop ic_active_status_mobile ic_active_status_tablet ic_active_status_video ic_active_status_walking

There's also an image called ic_settings_share_status_avatar.png, which will probably be present in the settings somewhere:

ic_settings_share_status_avatar

Moods

In addition to activities and text statuses, you will be able to set your mood. Right now, from what I can tell, there is not yet a way to set a mood in Hangouts. At first, we thought maybe it would at least inherit it from Google+, which has had moods for over 9 months now, but nope - no sign of them in Hangouts yet. Looks like it's not ready yet either and will roll out together will the rich statuses and activities.

As you can see from the strings below, we'll be able to set, change, or reset moods:

<string name="menu_mood_item">Set mood…</string>
<string name="menu_change_mood_item">Change mood</string>
<string name="mood_setting_activity_label">Set your mood</string>
<string name="clear_mood_menu_item_text">Reset mood</string>

These files contain the menu and settings for moods, further confirming their existence:

mood_setting_menu.xml
mood_setting_activity.xml

I also dug up a piece of code for setting a mood. If I'm correct, we'll be able to specify a mood message (moodMessage), and the mood will automatically expire after some time (expirationTimestamp).

ClientMoodState localClientMoodState = new ClientMoodState();
UB = localClientMoodState;
localClientMoodState.mood_ = "";
localClientMoodState.moodMessage_ = "";
localClientMoodState.expirationTimestamp_ = 0L;

The final interesting (OK, maybe not that interesting) piece of info is the internal API endpoint for setting statuses ends in presence/setpresence. Getting the existing mode is accomplished by querying presence/getpresence.

public String getUrlSuffix() {return "presence/setpresence";}

Moods, activities, and status messages are going to be very welcomed features, and I hope Google rolls them out soon.

P.S. Today's 1.2.018 update was very small and didn't bring any new features. Thanks to everyone who let me know about it.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • yodatom10

    dont suppose you guys found any hints of sms support in the pipe line anywhere

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I truly think they are not going to add sms to hangouts. Instead, they are going to put hangouts in sms. Just think about it for a second, let me know how you feel.

      • Justin W

        Won't do that. My reasoning for that is because SMS needs to be included in AOSP, and Hangouts isn't open-sourced and likely never will be, whereas SMS integration can (and should) be included in Hangouts to allow for a seamless messaging/IMing experience (similar to iMessage on iOS).

        • Daeshaun Griffiths

          Logical...too logical. Just asking for my own knowledge, is there a un/official list of things that must be included in aosp? I just don't see why moving the sms app to the play store will be difficult for them. or better, removing it completely (ie browser to chrome). My thought process was: hangouts = facetime and sms = imessage. sort like leaving hangouts as a video/im client. I think i just supported ur answer even more....anyway it was fun typing.

          • Matt McKee

            Removing an essential app like Messaging from AOSP would be rather bad. At least for Chrome they left Browser in AOSP. If they took out Messaging there would be no SMS app.

          • Joshua Smith

            They would most likely just have an AOSP version of Messaging and then a proprietary version for devices which supported the feature or something on Play Store. They did this for the Camera - AOSP version without Photosphere and proprietary version bundled with phones e.g. Nexus 4.

          • Paul Taylor

            Surely on tablets there is no dialler or SMS app already?

          • Justin W

            Basically, Android is completely open-sourced and it's meant to run on a device without needing separate applications (you don't need Google Apps to run Android), and I don't believe that will change. They may put the messaging app in the Play Store, but they wouldn't remove it from AOSP because it's an essential part of Android (just like the dialer, the timer/alarm, standard web-browser [that is, the Android browser, not Chrome - that's added specifically by Google to Nexus and Motorola devices]).

        • tyguy829

          They could integrate google voice into hangouts though and use that for standard sms messaging.

          • Justin W

            Yes... But that would alienate carriers since many won't directly integrate your cell number through them with Voice (I believe the only one in the US that does integrate directly with Voice is Sprint), which Google wouldn't do (at least, not yet). Maybe if they are able to get more power over the carriers, then they could, but I doubt that's in their plans. I do think Hangouts needs to be integrated with Voice, however.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Haven't seen anything yet, sorry.

  • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

    If these status indicators really are 'intelligent' that would be rather sweet!

    • Paul Taylor

      They're presumably just hanging off the existing fused location provider API. On the one hand, that means they're not necessarily that intelligent - but on the other hand, as the performance of the fused location provider improves in future, so will all the apps that are built on it.

  • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

    Woohoo. Hangouts is going to be a perfect blend of a Desktop IM client and a Mobile Messaging client.

  • http://www.smsnetwork.org/ Mikael Jakobsson

    Am relly missing to give a chance to change online status to busy if man not can ablet to answer for the moments mabye are at a meating.

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      +1 for meating

      • Telefunken

        I am ablet on my tablet.

  • http://www.geordienorman.com/ G Byers

    Now......how to get "normal" people to use it ....

    • cabbiebot

      i have two 'normal' friends who use it a lot because they used Google Talk. So, at least they didn't switch. Its when SMS/MMS gets rolled into Hangouts that usage will truly explode. I wait for that fateful day when I see AP announces its finally here.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Very slowly, I'm getting my friends off of SMS. I admit, it's a completely selfish act because I don't want to pay for unlimited text (I'm grandfathered on $5/month 200 messages), but I really do think SMS is outdated and useless for anything beyond emergency communication.

      Unfortunately, most people I know lean toward Facebook's messaging platform, because Hangouts seems too obscure or they don't use iOS/Android and can't use it at all. I think the IM experience is better on the desktop with Hangouts, but I can live with using both if it means getting away from SMS.

      • Sir_Brizz

        Yeah, I absolutely hate paying for the scam that is text messaging plans.

        • Paul Taylor

          Don't worry - the day SMS finally dies, they'll get their money from you some other way.

          • Sir_Brizz

            They already rape me for cash. :p

      • Paul Taylor

        Facebook's messenger app has proper status indicators, supports audio calls, and supports SMS integration. I'm having to live with both, but I really think that if Hangouts included these final three things there would be nobody left who could complain about it at all. Then again, maybe there would always be some...

    • Sergio

      Buying Wapp

  • https://www.twitter.com/Darkaeluz Herman Camilo Soruco

    maybe when android 4.4 KitKat is released hangout's will support SMS/MMS and will become the stock messaging app, just like chrome became the stock browser

  • Ash

    I am not getting the gmail, search and hangouts here in India even now. Even the apk download is not helping me. What on earth is perfecting me from getting the update? However I got YouTube play movies update the same day. I am upset about this.

    • Ash

      I wrote here and got the update just now. However in play store its still showing older version. But in real its not . i believe you guys have some connection with Google. If yes, do it for gmail and search also

  • ConCal

    [Insert obligatory SMS comment here]

  • skreeves

    <-- Waiting for the Empathic recognition API.

  • The_Chlero

    So the "future" of these messaging apps is to go back to 2003's MSN Messenger?

  • Trent Callahan

    Holy crap, am I the only person that doesn't cry about SMS in Hangouts every time it's in a post? They're working on it I'm sure. They aren't going to release a half-baked unfinished piece of art and have reviews rate it terribly. Hangouts will (hopefully) become Android's equivalent of iMessage, and I want it just as much as they next guy. But seriously guys, calm down. Google's playing it smart. They know what to do, it'll come at the right time. I trust their judgement over mine, just saying.(:

    • Ray

      If they knew what they were doing, SMS integration would have been included at launch.

      • Shinsen

        The Android community in a nutshell: Armchair developers everywhere.

        • Pierre Gardin

          You're implying it's technically difficult to do, enlighten us then.

    • Fatty Bunter

      I'm not too butthurt about it.

  • Elliot Kotis

    GOOGLE, WE DON'T CARE UNTIL YOU PUT SMS REPLACE IN IT!

  • Nick

    I have absolutely no reason to use this until they add SMS & MMS. Once they do that, I'll be all over it. I'd love to have the entirety of all my conversations accessible on my tablet, phone, computer and chromebook. I should be able to use hangouts to send a text to a friend who doesn't use hangouts. Google has to have someone smart enough to figure this out.

  • Dean

    I haven't use SMS since getting a smart phone, must be a US thing..

    • Lukasz

      It is, for sure.

      Reading through various blogs like this I realize their plans included unlimited text for a couple bucks per month since years, so they never needed to upgrade to a richer and, in many places of the world, cheaper messenger experiencie like WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Kik, et al.

  • Joe Menard

    I wish they provided SMS support. and that it came preinstalled on android phones so that more people would use the application

  • NikhilW

    "Today's 1.2.018 update was very small and didn't bring any new features."

    Today's update had at least one thing: it fixed my video and voice calls that the 1.2 update broke. I was looking for the old apk, but thanks to Google for fixing it in a quick update.

  • Michael P

    ((facepalm)) Can't we just get the "available / away / invisible" back? I don't need my significant other knowing exactly when I'm driving, what device I'm on. That leads to trouble

    • Thomas’

      Invisible was the most stupid idea IMs have ever introduced.

      It lead to many people being "invisible" all the time, ruining the whole purpose of IM. If you don't want to be seen by others: log out.

      • Aman Yajurvedi

        Its to ward off stalkers. Was used mainly by females.

        • Thomas’

          So not accepting or deleting someone from your contact list is not protecting enough against stalkers?

  • Dmitri Smirnov

    Am I the only one around here, who's missing the XMPP federation google used have, when were still about openness?
    Hell, if Google and FB would understand that the "there can be only one" mentality won't work out and would get with the times and enable XMPP federation (server2server), the world would be such a better place.
    Now instead we have a whole zoo of IM-s, each proclaiming to be the one and only. Which only leads to people being forced to have all of them to talk to their circe of friends (in case it's vast enough), or to migrate in small groups to the IM of choice for the leader of that group.
    As a result of this BS, the only reliable communication technology is e-mail. Which is dated, ugly and comprised of ungodly hacks to tackle the problems of spam, delivery and whatnot. How about dropping that as well, and replacing it with "G+ letters" or something?

    • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

      I saw that future of web communication / federation protocol you're talking about: it was introduced at Google I/O in 2009. Sadly, people didn't get it...

      • Dmitri Smirnov

        People got it. It's quite popular with self-hosted solutions. Cisco and Lync support federation. But big players in IM field think they should be the only ones to exist and don't want to think about collaboration.
        I shudder to think what email would look like if it was rolled out now: walled gardens all around and no reliable way to communicate.

        • http://wave-france.blogspot.com Supercopter

          Couldn't agree more.

          About the "people didn't get it" part, I was referring to this particular demo of an on-steroid-XMPP protocol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_UyVmITiYQ ;-)

  • Mskina

    Gosh, you americans are a pain in the ass about SMS. I don't care about integration. Actually, I don't use them since Whatsapp was popular. Hangouts must be WA replacement, not SMS replacement.

    Also, I don't want to send a Hangout to a friend and, as he don't use/have it, pay for it (without really knowing)

    • RitishOemraw

      Or hey, get a popup asking you if you want to send it as an SMS?
      The only reason I want SMS integration is so it means 1 less app on my phone, less clutter on my homescreen (for those few who still insist on texting me instead of WA or HA)

  • JonJJon

    Although these are nice ideas for a messaging platform, I hope they aren't putting all the rather slow progress into this and not putting any development into "other" things ;-P

  • Aman Yajurvedi

    Dont care about SMS, woohoo to status messages!

  • Mystery Man

    SMS SUPPORT K THX

  • Robert Macri

    I wish SMS would die.