Not many Android apps can say they've been installed a billion times. In fact, before today there were only ten - and out of those ten, only three of them were non-Google apps (and all owned by Facebook). Today Google's first party messaging client, Hangouts, joins this elite group of billion-device apps... notably behind its competitors, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
A billion installations doesn't mean a billion users, it means one billion different Android devices have downloaded the app once. Read More
Hangouts may not be as ubiquitous as Skype, but as Google sells more devices, people are increasingly turning to the company's built-in method of video chatting. Today the search giant announced an addition to the desktop Hangouts experience that we Android users may encounter as we hop from our phones to our laptops. Now when users share their screens, others can view it in fullscreen.
Google says the video will use as much visible area as possible. Read More
Yesterday, we took a look at the upcoming Hangouts 4.0, a yet unreleased update that promises to clean up the Hangouts interface in many ways. But there was one thing we didn't cover in that post - the Android Wear app that will apparently come with the update to 4.0. Since yesterday we've been playing with the app and thought it would be good to follow up with a quick overview of what it does.
: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
Back in September, Hangouts switched from gray to green in its 2.3 update, ostensibly making the first baby steps on its journey toward joining Google's material design parade. Then in December we first spied a slightly more material version of the app. Now, users are running version 3.3 and many aren't satisfied with the app's layouts or structure. Things like the seemingly unnecessary contacts tab, the somewhat messy drawer, and the non-standard toolbar are common complaints.
It looks like Google is working on fixing a lot of issues with an upcoming update to Hangouts 4.0 though. We've heard rumblings from Reddit of the new update, and now we've got an early look at the app. Read More
Google keeps patiently improving the ecosystem surrounding the Chromecast and its various software tie-ins. But the latest trick is casting not to a gadget or screen, but to a conversation. At least some users are now able to cast tabs to a video Hangouts session, allowing the recipient to watch the video (or whatever else you've got in that tab) without a cumbersome link. It doesn't seem to be live for everyone, but check out your Chromecast extension if you'd like to try it out.
The system seems to prefer an active conversation. It won't let you cast to a Hangouts conversation that only includes you, for example, and it won't go for a Hangout which someone has opened but not yet joined. Read More
We've been following the development of Google's Hangouts Chrome app for quite some time. The project referred to as Ultraviolet in August later launched in October as a floating chatheads-style experience. It was okay, but at the beginning of this month we caught wind of a change in the works that completely redoes the experience. That change has now gone live.
The new interface looks quite a bit like the Android app. You have one panel with contacts, messages, and calls on the left, and the active conversation thread is visible to the right. A floating action button lets you open up a new conversation. Read More
We first saw Ultraviolet, Google's Hangouts app for Chrome, back in August. Just a couple of months later, the app went live for Chrome users with an interesting new chat heads-style interface that put your Hangouts conversations on top of everything else as floating circles.
For the most part, Ultraviolet currently resembles the Android app - it's got green toolbars, and a one-at-a-time approach to viewing conversations or the conversation list. Plus on OS X, the floating buttons unfortunately still aren't transparent, so the whole app is wrapped up in a window.
According to Caschy's Blog though, Google might be testing a new interface for Ultraviolet, and the image posted there looks like a step in the right direction. Read More
Now that Project Fi has come out into the open, we can expect to see integration for the new service popping up in a handful of Google's apps over the coming weeks. The first app to received custom support is Hangouts, which began rolling out just hours after the Project Fi website went live. This update doesn't make any changes to parts of the app we care about, but just adds some elements that come alive when a device is hooked to Google's new service. The apk is exclusively for devices running Android 5.1, and I wouldn't expect to see another variant with support for lower versions since every Nexus 6, Project Fi's sole supported phone, should theoretically be 5.1 (unless your current carrier is evil). Read More
Update Wednesday hit like a ton of bricks, this week. It didn't help that it also happened to land on tax day in the United States. Not only were there new versions for about a dozen apps from Google, but a couple of new ones joined the mix. Yet again, Drive and its associated document editing apps are gracing the Teardown stage with even more new improvements on the horizon. This time, we see that Drive is getting a chip-based interface for adding collaborators, Slides will allow for presentations over Hangouts, all of the editors are going to have stylized templates, and there might even be a Secret Next-Gen UI on the way (but probably not). Read More