The New Google Hangouts App Guide
Now that the first day of Google I/O is done and the dust has settled, barely, we can start to look back on what was announced and really figure out what Google has done to improve their brand in the future. One of the stand out features, at least to me, was the new Hangouts application. The new Hangouts application replaces Google Talk on you devices as well as in Chrome when using chat in Google+ or Gmail.
The New Hangouts App:
So why did Google need to upgrade a service that already worked great? Google wanted to make a chat services that will become a full service messenger. As of right now you can chat with people who you are connected with on Google+ or stored in your Gmail contact listing as long as they have Gmail as well. Same principle as Google Talk right? Well yes and no. The biggest difference here is the appearance and overall service. The application, whether on the your phone or computer, looks much sharper and more modern. Sometimes going too modern looks strange and takes a long time to get use to but from what I have seen so far, Google has struck the right amount of change.
You now will see animations when someone is replying to your conversation as well as when someone pops in and out of the conversation. See examples below:
Very simple, clean looking interface here and makes it very easy to read.
Out of Conversation:
Dylan's grayed out icon means that he is not caught up and in the conversation window. When the person's image is not on the bottom on the screen he/she has not caught up to what you have typed. Only when that persons face appears on the very button on the conversation, he/she has read all of the updated messages.
This is when Dylan caught up, and is in the conversation when his icon is on the bottom and no longer grayed out.
The three dots on the bottom of the screen indicates that Dylan is typing a message.
Solid work done by Google. Not necessary tweaks but welcome additions and it shows that Google isn't afraid to continually improve what already works. This brings me to the next big point that is the stand out feature right now… group chats.
Group Chat Ability:
Before with Google Talk you could have a conversation with one other person but if you wanted to chat with multiple people you needed to start a Hangout in order to have a unified chat group. Not everyone wants to have a video chat just to type a group message and not everyone has phone numbers to do a group text. This is where Hangouts comes into play. Now you can add people to a conversation and have a group conversation all in real time and you will be able to see who is in the conversation and who is typing.
Screen of Multichat:
Group chat of the TAC crew talking about the Easter eggs that can be found on the PC version of Hangouts .
Great feature in my opinion and I have already found myself using it frequently. Another great perk of this group conversation comes with the ability to immediately click a button and drop everyone into a video chat.
Screen of Button for Video chat:
Clicking the button circled would drop everyone into a video chat simply and quickly.
I can see this being very useful, especially for those who are unsure about needing a video chat for a conversation or conference, now it’s easier than ever to do either one.
So why should you care? Well it means that Google isn't afraid to take steps forward on something that already works and bring a better experience to their users. I am not pointing any fingers but take iMessage for example, it has been the same since its release and I am willing to bet that nothing will change for a long time.
So the one thing that Google Hangouts is missing that iMessage has, text messaging capabilities (technically). Well that is going to change in the future. Google has said that you will be able to send and receive text messages using Hangouts and that is a huge plus for some people. That way all your conversations are in one place, one unified messaging inbox. Sounds like a great feature to me!
When will that comes, who knows but I can only hope that it comes soon.