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.
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. Read More
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. Read More
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.
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. Read More
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 (http://goo.gl/FSbCX5). Please keep in mind these aren’t Google products, so exercise caution when signing in with your Google account.
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.
One of the best things about tech companies is that they believe in having a little fun around the holidays, and there's no better time to take a beat to enjoy the festivities than New Year's Eve. Facebook just featured a themed selfie frame in its Messenger app, and Google is matching with a dancing emoji when you type the words "Happy new years" to somebody.
This easter egg has actually been around for a few days, but we thought today was the perfect day to highlight it. One more emoji isn't the most exciting thing, but you can have a little bit of fun surprising your uninitiated friends with a little animated treat. Read More
Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.
The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing. With the release of version 2.5, that apparently changed. You can now listen to voicemail with the screen dark or while using another app entirely, leaving the message to play in the background. Read More
There's an update to Hangouts Dialer rolling today to make those Google VoIP calls a little more useful. The dialer's new trick is that it can handle phone call intents from the system. That makes it easier than ever to place calls through Hangouts with your Google Voice number.