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Happy International Day Of Happiness! (Oops, I Meant To Type That Into Hangouts For The Animation)

Today, March 20th, is the International Day of Happiness. You're forgiven if you did not know this, as it's not the kind of holiday that gets folks out of school or work, nor does it involve exchanging gifts. Really, it's just about being happy and encouraging others to do the same, along with coming up with ways to eradicate poverty and establish peace on Earth.

So if you say Happy International Day of Happiness into Hangouts, a little guy will dance out from the side of the screen and strike a happy pose.


After that, he continues to dance until he disappears in the opposite direction.

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Google Celebrates St. Patrick's Day With A Few Hangouts Easter Eggs

In what is becoming a tradition of sorts, Google is not letting an American holiday go by without a corresponding Hangouts Easter egg. When messages contain certain trigger words, users are greeted with corresponding animations to add a little spice to the conversation. Since their debut, we've seen the animated emoji people bring in the new year and celebrate Valentine's Day. Add St. Patrick's Day to the list! I've spotted three different versions so far.




Both sender and recipient should be greeted by these little leprechauns. Don't worry, the recipient won't see the animation until they open the app to read your message.

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Google Now Lets You Send Hangouts Messages Using Voice Commands

OK, Google, let's have a talk. No, not the two of us. I mean, let me talk to someone else, using you. I heard you're willing to let me send Hangouts messages without opening the app now.

OK, Google, let me start over. No, no, no, that wasn't a command. Ugh, OK.

Google, send a hangouts message.

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Hangouts For Android Gets Easy Video Chat Invitation Links

Hangouts video chats are pretty good in terms of handling multiple up and down streams, but the invitation and verification system leaves a lot to be desired - there's something of a traffic jam when we start the Android Police podcast video, for example. Today Google is making that a little easier by allowing mobile users to join a Hangouts video session with a simple invitation link, instead of needing an explicit, personal invitation via the Hangouts/Google+ system.

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This has been possible on a standard desktop or Chrome OS device for a few months, but now it's enabled for Android connections as well.

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Hangouts Jumps From v2.5 To v3.0 With New Rich Contact Cards And A Few Minor Tweaks [APK Download]

You might expect taking Hangouts all the way from v2.5 to v3.0 would come with some big changes, but then you'd be wrong. While there are plenty of things that could be fixed in Hangouts, Google has just started pushing out the 3.0 update with only a tweaks. There's more going on than it may seem at first, but a major update this is not.

2015-03-04 11.36.17 2015-03-04 11.37.24 2015-03-04 11.36.46

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Forbes' Interview With Sundar Pichai Hints At An Uncoupling Of The Various Google+ Entities, Further Monetization Options On Mobile, And Google's Future Strategies

The Czar has spoken. After his anointment as Google's Senior Vice President of Products last October, which put him in charge of Chrome, Android, search, ad technology, Google+, Maps, social, commerce and infrastructure, Sundar had been operating in incognito mode, occasionally letting loose a few tidbits of information, like Inbox' deployment to Apps users. In a recent interview with Forbes, the man behind most of the things we talk about here on Android Police has answered some interesting questions regarding his vast portfolio of products, tried to put an end to a few concerns, and remained mum about other issues.

On Google+

The most intriguing section of the interview starts when Google+ is addressed.

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Google Is Testing Live Hangouts Chat With Businesses In Search Results

Even though Helpouts didn't last, Google is apparently committed to exploring new uses for its Hangouts chat infrastructure. For example, go search for a restaurant. You might see a new item in the info box alongside review snippets and the location. Google is testing live chat with businesses from search results. If you launch this feature, you'll be taken to a new Hangouts conversation on the web or mobile so you can ask questions or get clarification.


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Google Adds Some Valentine's Day Treats To Hangouts


If you're wishing someone a happy Valentine's day using Hangouts today rather than face-to-face, Google's got a special easter egg for you.

Back in December, Google added tons of special animations to Hangouts, triggered by words like "woohoo" or "yay!!" or "lmao," but it looks like there are some extra treats for Valentine's day. Typing "Happy Valentine's," or "Happy Valentine's day" will trigger a few heart-themed animations, featuring a love-struck emoji or a fox gifting flowers to its duck Valentine.

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This easter egg seems to be part of Google's effort to make Valentine's day special for users across its web properties, with other tricks including a heart-filled +1 action on Google+ (seen below) and Google's "special edition" reCAPTCHAs.

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Google Talk For Windows Will Die February 23, But Compatible Third-Party Clients Will Still Work

For Google Talk users, Product Manager Mayur Kamat has some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the chat service's desktop client for Windows will be deprecated on February 23, 2015 as the team continues to focus on making Hangouts better.

Of course that leaves the question of third-party clients like Pidgin, Trillian, etc. The good news is, as Kamat notes, that compatible apps will still continue to work.

If you’re not ready to make the switch to Hangouts quite yet, you can continue using Google Talk on Windows with a range of compatible third-party chat apps ( Please keep in mind these aren’t Google products, so exercise caution when signing in with your Google account.

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Google Helpouts Is Shutting Down In April 2015, Android App Already Removed From The Play Store

Google introduced the Helpouts service, a special version of live video Hangouts specifically intended for instruction and guides, back in November of 2013. The Android app followed shortly thereafter, allowing users to access paid and screened experts for a variety of skilled or specialized tutorials. Apparently it hasn't been as popular as Google had hoped: the company has informed users that the service will be shutting down on April 20th.


Google posted the following explanation on its support site and issued the same statement to users via email:

We have some sad news to share: Helpouts will be shutting down on April 20, 2015.

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