When it comes to messaging on Android devices, Google offers an impressive amount of ways you can get it done, but it can be overwhelming. There are technically three first-party messaging apps: Messenger, Hangouts, and Voice; plus the myriad of other third-party messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.
All of that is going to change because Google is now making Hangouts a top level product, and has already launched the app’s very own dedicated website.
Google has been updating many of Android’s core apps in anticipation of Android Marshmallow, which was confirmed earlier this week. A lot of the changes to Hangouts 4.0 were incredibly welcomed. The app received a sleeker look to it as it was finally updated to support Android 5.0’s material design. That means it’s not only sleeker looking but more touch friendly, and is simpler to navigate all around.
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Previously, Google’s Messenger app was the go-to for many Android users since it was implemented as a regular SMS replacement app for stock phones. Hangouts was missing some of the simpler features that Messenger already incorporated.
The inclusion of a standalone website now gives Hangouts a few advantages over its younger brother. Previously users could only use Hangouts through their Gmail, but now users have a beautifully designed website with an intuitive interface. Chats are synced up across all Android, iOS, and any other web-enabled devices, so being connecting is easy.
Voice integration is also a big selling feature, which was already present in previous iterations of Hangouts, but now users are able to use MMS in Voice messages as well.
The standalone site is very simplistic in design. There is a beautiful background image that changes periodically (just like Chromecast), there is a chat bar on the left side along with contacts, phone, and options menu buttons. The main meat of the app simply shows off the gorgeous wallpapers and has three easy buttons that allows users to quickly jump into a phone call, video call, or a quick text message.
Hangouts 4.0 should now be available to just about everyone at this point. If you don’t already have it then there is probably a notification sitting in your notification panel asking you to update the app. The website can be reached through hangouts.google.com. For users who still want to chat through Gmail, you can do that too! For the time being, Google has no plans to take out the option. So, go check out the new Google Hangouts site and let us know what you think in the comments!