Google unveils new unified ‘Hangouts’ messaging service for iOS, Android

By , May 15, 2013

google hangouts

Google’s I/O keynote is still ongoing, and the company just unveiled a major new service: Hangouts. Originally rumored to be called ‘Babel,’ Hangouts is a cross-platform messaging system that will take the place of Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google+ Hangout video chat, and pretty much everything else.

It’s basically a messaging app, in the same vein as WhatsApp or Kik, offering synchronized chat across virtually all of your devices. Google has mixed in a lot of its own personal flavor though, building in the ability for users to go back through their chat history, delete messages, and even grab files from past conversations…

hangouts promo

Continuing with the differences, the Hangout app presents users with a list of recent text conversations, rather than a contact list. Each conversation gets its own name, and is stored in the cloud, allowing users to message others even if they’re not connected. This also allows for seamless syncing between multiple devices.

TechCrunch has more on the service:

“Presence, or knowing when friends are available to chat, is a big focus. You can see when friends are on Hangouts, if they’re currently typing, and if they’ve seen your messages [also known as read receipts]. Using Google+ Circles, you can select specific friends or a whole group to start a chat with.

Hangouts takes care to deliver your messages to whichever web interface or mobile app your friends are using. If you’re offline, Hangouts will store your messages until you return. Unlike Google Talk, it won’t send you an email every time you get a message while offline.”

And all of this focus on ‘presence’ pays off, as Hangouts is constantly aware of what platform you’re using to chat. This way, you won’t have to worry about receiving duplicate notifications on different platforms. The idea here is that you can start and stop conversations smoothly regardless of if you’re on desktop, Android or iOS.

hangouts android ss

It seems like Google has thought of everything with Hangouts, except for text messaging. Unlike iMessage, or Facebook Messenger (for Android), it can’t turn messages into SMS for folks that don’t have the app. So if you’re wanting to talk to a friend over Hangouts, you’ll have to send them a text informing them to download it.

At any rate, we’ll obviously know a lot more about Hangouts once it becomes available. The app is expected to land on iOS, Android and desktops later today, so stay tuned.

Update: the app is now available in the App Store.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/xnaborx Nabor Araujo

    Chrome 1 x 0 Safari
    Hangouts 1 x 0 iMessage/Whatsapp.

    • http://twitter.com/amanvojha ★ Amaℵ™ ★☯

      iMessage and whatsapp would be still better than the hangout

    • http://www.facebook.com/mehrabh Mehrab Haque

      Chrome has good tab management when it comes to raw speed and smoothness and features the ios 6 safari is the way to go

  • http://www.facebook.com/khan.rulzz.7 Khan Rulzz

    Facebook/whatsaap is already enough !!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MattySmiths Matt Smith

    When??

  • http://www.facebook.com/mehrabh Mehrab Haque

    No

    • Ian

      Grumpy Cat? xD

      • http://www.facebook.com/mehrabh Mehrab Haque

        Lol

    • kevin butler

      Why not? This is available anywhere. Once SMS support is added, it’s pointless to have the other messenger apps.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mehrabh Mehrab Haque

        Experience i have tried this out i”ll use it to talk to my android people only imessage will always be my first immessage justnfeels more reliable integrated ,cleaner simpler, and faster

  • http://zdenektopic.cz/ Zdeněk Topič

    It just showed up in App Store!

    • http://www.facebook.com/MattySmiths Matt Smith

      what store?

      • http://twitter.com/melovestoast Jared Floyd

        Radioshack. Go download it from radioshack ASAP!!

  • Guest

    When will it be available in all stores??(specifically in Israel store?)
    Thx

    • http://twitter.com/ThePewc ThePewc

      jews can suck my cock

  • chjode

    I assume this will require a G+ account, so it’s effectively the same as the FB messenger app. The advantage iMessage has is the seamless integration with SMS/MMS messages on iOS. While it’d be great to have that sort of integration with other platforms, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

    • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

      If you sign in to any Google product, then you’ve created a log in for hangouts. There’s no requirement for anyone to create a G+ profile. The problem with iMessage is it’s limited only to Apple devices and texting can add up. Plus you can’t video chat with anyone outside of Apple unless you go into yet another app. This eliminates all the hassle and puts everything (and potentially everyone) into one app.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mehrabh Mehrab Haque

        Yeah hassle? Okay sure apple devices are super snappier then android so yeah no hassle for me and imessage just feels natural and faster and video call? You can video call (facetime) within the message app so yeah and facetime is the best when it comes to video quality and clarity unlike skype and othera

  • Pod

    When will it be available in Israeli store?

    • http://twitter.com/YzMENTALzY YzMENTALzY

      When palestine stops being bombed ;) sorry just wanted to say stop the occupation… Im soo gonna get dislikes for this comment but hey only stating the facts

      • Guest

        BTW I’m Arabian,and live in Israel :)

  • Gorgonphone

    fail

  • Markus Hudobnik

    iMessage and then this.

  • http://twitter.com/craigkeller Craig Keller

    when it supports texting, im in. Also, it doesnt appear to work with Google Apps for Business, at least not for me at the moment

    • Eldaria

      Yes it does, your admin needs to enable it though.

      • http://twitter.com/craigkeller Craig Keller

        it does work now. Admin had nothing to do with it. Google hadnt turned it on.

      • Eldaria

        I had to enable it in my Admin panel.

  • Slawa

    Just downloaded it for ipad, im from Germany .. You have to verify your phone number, this makes me Hope it will work like iMessage and whatsapp, and Carry the Messages in Same Way

  • http://twitter.com/DrewDiver Drew Diver

    No Jabber syncing as of yet, but other than that, pretty solid.

  • iosPixel

    Search Hangouts to download now!

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Requirement to have a google+ account is a fail; not gonna waist time telling all my friends to join another data mining club.

    Viber+WhatsApp+BBM is good enough competition in this market space.

    • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

      From what I understand, you don’t have to have a Google+ account per se, meaning you don’t have to create a G+ profile. Seeing as many people already log in to use at least one of Google’s products (including Google Maps), they’re already connected. Besides, why would I want to use the three apps you just mentioned when I can use just one?!

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Who says you should use all three of them? They are all going to be competing with one another, as I mentioned.

        Just 1 of them offer the exact same as Google plans to do with Hangout, so it’s a matter of preference; want to see ads based on your text messages or not….you decide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jake.chung Jake Sungwoo Chung

    Any crash on launch on iphone 5 jailbroken?

    • http://twitter.com/erik1992 Erikk Jimenez

      I get crash on iPhone 4 jailboken

    • qosmio

      If you have “FullScroll” it will crash just remove that tweak and it will work fine

      Kind regards Qosmio

      • greg

        FullScroll just updated with a fix. Works now.

  • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

    If Google was really smart, they’d follow Apple’s approach and combine this with Android’s OS messaging app. As I understand, Android users automatically have to create a Google account to fully use their device. With many others logging in to use just one of Google’s products, most people would be connected automatically! That could virtually wipe out the need to text or be concerned with who of my friends are on iMessage! At least that’s what I’m hoping…

    • Al

      They have Google Voice and that’s the vital piece of having SMS integration. I use Google Voice and it’s like their best kept secret… Not sure why it hasn’t expanded on it, it’s still lacking MMS. And the carriers are really keeping a stronghold on not enabling MMS on Google Voice.

  • MarcPhilippeB

    Apple should update their iMessage, Apple Maps, iPod App FAST. If Google starts going into hardware for real, they’re gonna be unstoppable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/silvelix Jeffrey Abejar

    I just downloaded it. You need a google account to log in and your google circle friends are automaticaly added in the contact list but the thing is I couldn’t find how to add people from my iphone contacts. I think I have to manually add them.

  • Malay Mody

    Would people rather imessage, which is already integrated into the stock messages app and iOS, or would they rather have a separate app to worry about? hmmmmmm tough choice

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=558812483 Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

    You only get to chat with your G+ contacts. If you try to add a random number it ask for an invitation. When it asked for my number i tought it would be like whatsapp. Oh and when you send a picture the recipient gets a link to your g+ photo album instead of the actual picture. Total failure

    • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

      Really?! That’s disappointing…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=558812483 Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

        Yes my friend.

  • http://twitter.com/melovestoast Jared Floyd

    iMessage is probably one of my favorite features on the iPhone. I couldn’t see any new messenger replacing it. Trying to get all of your friends to either completely switch over or use both? I’ll pass.

  • David Villamizar

    Gotta do some research.

  • Eldaria

    Baaah!!!, Installed on my iPad but not on my iPhone 3GS. Requires Front Camera. Crap Bulshit, why do I need a camera to chat?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1059415746 Balint Udvarhelyi

    The good: Google messaging finally on the iPad!
    The bad: Hangouts won’t install on my wife’s iPhone 3GS. It’s “incompatible” as it doesn’t have a front facing camera. I just want to use messaging…