Ever since we first took a look at Motorola's Nexus 6 (and subsequently saw it leaked and finally announced) there's been a question about that blue and white icon in the dock. We learned directly from Google that it would be a new app called Messenger, that sounds like it will - for all intents and purposes - replace the AOSP messaging app that used to appear on stock devices.
As cool as Google Voice's free text message service is, it has always been a bit barebones. Big features like MMS have been missing for a lot of users, with some notable exceptions. Multimedia Message Service, usually used to simply attach a photo to a text message, is handled by completely different servers at most carriers, causing some problems with Google's forwarding system. It looks like Google has addressed these issues, at least for most people in the US and Canada, finally enabling the sending and receiving of MMS via Google Voice.
Google employee Alex Wiesen announced the new feature on his personal Google+ account.
It's been over two months since Google gave Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 owners a chance to tinker with the upcoming L release of Android, in what has been the biggest beta test in Android's short history. With all of us waiting on a release sometime in the fourth quarter of 2014, it's gratifying to know that the powers that be are hard at work getting Android L ready for primetime.
Google is rolling out an updated version of Hangouts, and while version 2.0.2 doesn't introduce much in the way of exciting new features, it squashes a handful of annoying bugs introduced when the app took on the ability to handle SMS and MMS messages.
The newer, SMS-tackling version of Hangouts came with a few quirks that have been rubbing more than a handful of users the wrong way. For starters, the app converted any text message sent to multiple receivers to an MMS, which is chargeable for many people.
Google Voice was a hugely exciting service when it launched a few years back, but it seems like Google has put it on the back burner recently. Maybe things are picking up, though. Just last week Google announced that Voice was finally adding support for MMS, and now there's more news on that front. T-Mobile has opted to allow MMS messages sent from its users to be delivered to Google Voice numbers (sort of).
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+.