Users of Google Voice have long called for the company to pay more attention to the seemingly forgotten service for quite some time. Unfortunately, they may be getting more than they were hoping for. While many people are thrilled to hear Voice will finally support MMS and become a part of Hangouts in early 2014, Google is also planning to close up shop for all 3rd-party apps that relied on the service for free texting and VoIP calling.
Earlier this week at a Google+ event, the company announced several important additions to Hangouts for Android. The updated version 2.0 comes with SMS support as well as location sharing, the ability to display animated GIF files, as well as the previously discovered in a teardown statuses and moods. AndroidPolice covered the rumor on October 7th following my initial Google+ report on October 4th.
The coveted update may take a while to reach you, considering it hasn't even started officially rolling yet.
About a month ago, we found some enticing goodies in Hangouts' 1.2 update. Specifically, we found evidence of activity statuses - rich status messages that would allow you to set a status with accompanying iconography for things like biking, driving, laptop, tablet, and phone. Some of these, (like biking and driving) we predicted, may be set automatically by Hangouts. The teardown also revealed the possibility of moods, using the bouncy yellow fellow found on Google+.
Vic Gundotra just announced what we've all hoped for (and kind of already anticipated): SMS is coming to Hangouts. Yes.
Aside from that, you'll also be able to share your location with a simple tap. Oh, and GIFs. Prepare for all sorts of animated crap in Hangouts. It's happening. Unfortunately, we're not exactly sure when it will be happening – there's no word right now as to when the updated APK will hit Google Play.
Several days ago, I started a series of rumor posts on my personal Google+ account discussing some Android rumors I felt were interesting enough to share, but didn't feel confident enough yet to do so here on the site. The posts were heavily prefixed with disclaimers that none of them may turn out to be true but that I had a certain level of confidence to talk about them in public unofficially.
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.
It's update Wednesday, and Google is making good use of this one. Earlier today the company showed off the new version of Gmail with a card-based UI in the conversation list, and now it's Hangouts' turn to get a nice little feature bump.
The Hangouts update – which brings the app up to version 1.2 for those who like to keep count – brings about some mighty useful (and oft-requested) features:
- You can finally see who is on Hangouts!
Some of you may have already noticed that your Hangouts video looked significantly clearer the last time you fired it up. That's because Google has transitioned from the H.264 video codec to VP8, and with it, the company has introduced HD streaming. Google started rolling out the change to users in the last few weeks, but it will still be a while before this rolls out to everyone.
Google introduced VP8 back in 2010 as an open and royalty-free format allowing users to watch video in browsers without the need for any additional plugins.
Given the major Keep update to v2 today, I got excited when I saw that Hangouts was updated as well a short time after. Unfortunately, it seems like it's a very minor bump: from 18.104.22.1683199 to 22.214.171.1248356.
A quick teardown revealed updated translations and some minor under-the-hood code changes that aren't anything to write home about. The changelog hasn't been updated either and still lists the added emoji support and other stuff from the previous v1.1 update.
Have you ever been stumped by a problem that's clearly outside your wheelhouse? Perhaps you've even fantasized about being able to just dial up an expert to pick their big meaty brain about the problem. That's exactly what Google has just announced with Helpouts. It's a cunning play on words, you see. It's like a Hangout, but it's used to help people. Google is clever.
The idea behind Helpouts is that folks with a certain area of expertise will set up an account with their skills, qualifications, availability, and rate.