Google Unifies Cross-Platform Messaging Services With 'Hangouts'
Google has unveiled a new unified messaging service that is designed to work on Android, iOS, and the web. Called Hangouts, the app incorporates and unifies several different Google services, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and the existing Google+ Hangouts.
Today we're launching a stand-alone version of Hangouts that combines text, photos and live video across Android, iOS and your computer.
Now that Hangouts spans modalities and devices, you can finally fuhgeddaboudit (the technology, that is), and focus on what really matters: creating lasting relationships. And that, we think, is a plus.
Hangouts, which is similar to Facebook Messenger, places an emphasis on "conversations which last," saving chats between users in the cloud and allowing users to access past chats, shared photos, and video call history. The app's interface also emphasizes conversations over contacts and supports both multimedia content and additions like emoji.
According to Google's Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundrota, detailed chat history can be toggled off. “Of course we give you the ability to delete those things,” he said. “But having the ability so save those conversations, I think is delightful and amazing.”
Because Hangouts relies on Google's cloud, both video and text chats can take place on a number of different devices and between multiple people. The app will be available today from Google Play, the App Store, and the Chrome Web Store.
Update 2: As noted by Engadget, AT&T is currently restricting the group video chat functionality of the Google Hangouts app to WiFi.