Google finally announced the unification of its communication services at the I/O keynote in San Francisco today. Communication services, earlier spread across Gmail, Google+ and Google talk, will now we be available as “Hangouts” on iOS, Android, Chrome, Gmail and Google+.
Although Google Talk was/is one of the most used chat platforms out there, Google missed the boat on mobile messaging, losing share to apps like Whatsapp, Kik, LINE etc.
Here are the main features of Hangouts:
- The main view is a list of recent conversation threads rather than a list of contacts.
- Each thread has its own name, and can be labelled with an image or an emoji.
- The service comes with a collection of 850 hand-drawn emojis, though there doesn’t seem to be any mention of stickers, a new trend in messaging apps.
- You can of course continue to “Hangout,” that is video chat with up to 10 people simultaneously.
- A history of your conversations will be tied to your Google account and stored on Google’s servers, which lets you pick up a conversation on your desktop right from where you left on your phone. This isn’t possible with Whatsapp. (You can choose to keep certain conversations off record)
- Just like iMessage, Google will clear out notifications sent to your iOS device if you view new messages on your desktop, and vice versa. Additionally, Hangouts also lets you snooze notifications for later.
Here’s Google’s promo video for Hangouts:
You can download Hangouts for iOS from this link.
Please don’t forget to let us know what you think of the app in the comments.