We've seen Hangouts 4.0 for Android before (and also on Android Wear), but that was two months ago. Suffice it to say, then, that Hangouts 4 hype has been building up tremendous pressure since, and now Google is finally delivering. Hangouts 4.0 will be available on the Play Store starting today, and of course, almost certainly will roll out in stages.

We already have a good idea of what's new in Hangouts 4.0, but here are the changes Google is offering up specifically:

  • Hangouts is sleeker. Now updated with material design, Hangouts has a new look and feel: items respond to your touch in more intuitive ways and transitions between tasks are more fluid. 
  • Hangouts is simpler. The new Compose button makes it easier for you to start a new group or conversation. Our streamlined contacts list helps you find the right person quickly. And attachments have been revamped and simplified, so sharing—of emoji, GIFs, your location, even multiple photos at once—is a snap. 
  • Hangouts is faster. Whether you’re sending a quick message or video chatting with family, you don’t want hold-ups. We’ve been obsessively fixing bugs and speeding up message delivery to make Hangouts faster and more reliable. Bonus: less battery consumption.

There are also a couple more features - outbound caller ID (so you won't show up as "unknown" when you make a Hangouts call) and receive and reply to group MMS in Hangouts when using Google Voice.

Custom status messages, as we rumored, are here, too, and the aforementioned support for Android Wear is obviously in tow as well.

We'll let you know when we've got an APK.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File name: com.google.android.talk-4.0.100147489-22534506-minAPI15.apk

Version: 4.0.100147489 (22534506)

MD5: a886cf23e8dd4ce4d32e6a2b6a455095