Hangouts

When is Apple going to pay FaceTime the attention it deserves?

The other day I overheard a woman at the coffee shop spiritedly conversing on FaceTime with what I can only presume was her mother. The topic of discussion had been the daughter’s holiday trip, and her mom said something that struck a chord with me: why can’t you show me the photos on here? This got me thinking (at which point I stopped listening in, promised). Since its inception, FaceTime has received dreadfully little attention from Apple. The introduction of FaceTime Audio aside, the service practically makes for an absolute freeze-up in an otherwise constantly forward moving software environment.

As consumers, we have become used to companies spending more resources and time on pet projects of theirs and conversely less on comparably idle services, but what is astonishing is that this analogy does not explain the ongoing neglect of FaceTime. Because for all its faults and plainness, FaceTime is tremendously popular. For reasons only known to the Cupertino giant however, it does barely show in the application’s development. To add insult to injury, the lackluster state is likely to persist for yet another year until the next big software update for iOS rolls in. Never mind the fact this means forever in industry years, but it’s even worse because FaceTime is already adrift of the competition.

With that said, it is time for Apple to start play catch-up and resuscitate the service. Since the coffee shop encounter, I have been mulling over how Apple could ramp up the offering realistically in the near future. Here is what I believe is feasible and crucial for FaceTime to implement within the next year:

Hangouts 9 for iOS drops with Low Power Mode support and share extension

Google’s Hangouts application wants to become a unified communications solution for all your messaging needs despite not seeing new features in months. Now we know why: Google’s been busy working on a major new version.

Now available on the App Store, the new Hangouts 9.0 brings a pair of new features, including one that’ll automatically suspend video sharing during VoIP calls when an iPhone enters iOS 9’s Low Power Mode.

Hangouts for iOS now supports Apple Watch, gains quick-replying from notifications and more

Google Hangouts, the search giant’s instant messaging and VoIP mobile client, was updated in the App Store last evening with several new features and refinements.

For starters, Apple Watch owners can now respond to instant messages received from other Hangout users directly on their wrist and also from the notification banner on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad (provided they use iOS 9.1).

Google rolls out Hangouts web app with chatting, free voice and video calling and more

Just like the recently introduced standalone Facebook Messenger web app, Google’s Hangouts service now runs in a browser. Taking advantage of modern web technologies, the Hangouts desktop web app can now live inside Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox and other modern browsers, no app install required whatsoever.

Try it out at hangouts.google.com and let us know what you think in the comments.

Google Hangouts gains smart location sharing, statuses, deeper Voice integration and more

Google on Tuesday added new features to its Hangouts app for the iPhone and iPad, namely deeper integration with its Voice telephony service, a pretty smart way to share your location with others, the ability to tell your friends what you’re up to via status messages and more.

Today’s refresh follows last month’s Android app update which introduced a similar set of enhancements. These newly introduced features are available on iOS right now so go ahead and download Hangouts free in the App Store and take the app for a spin.

Google offering first minute free on international Hangouts calls

Yesterday, the Internet giant Google announced a newsworthy promotion giving its users the first minute free when placing outgoing calls through Hangouts to phone numbers in more than two dozen countries.

“The first 60 seconds is on us,” the company said in a post over at Google+. “What you say is up to you”. You can place Hangouts using Gmail and Google+ on desktop, using the Hangouts extension for Chrome, or via Google’s mobile Hangouts app for iOS and Android.

Google’s Hangouts app is now iPhone 6-ready

Continuing its string of app updates adding native support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen sizes, Google on Wednesday issued a small update to its Hangouts messaging software for the iPhone and iPad, which now looks as you’d expect on the 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 screens.

In addition to UI support for the new Apple smartphones, Hangouts 2.3 contains no other additions or improvements. The app is available free of charge in the App Store and requires iOS 6.0 or later.

You can now make voice calls from Hangouts app

As suspected, the Internet giant Google on Wednesday has finally gotten around refreshing its free of charge Hangouts mobile application for the iPhone and iPad with the ability to make phone calls to anyone on your Hangouts contact list, using the new voice-calling feature.

As part of its staggered shuttering of the Voice app, “starting today you can make voice calls from Hangouts on Android, iOS and the web,” wrote the search giant in a post over at the Official Google Blog.

Calling landline and mobile phone numbers in the United States and Canada is free, with the international calling rates starting at a ridiculously low one cent per minute.

Google Voice reportedly getting axed soon in favor of VoIP-to-phones Hangouts integration

Have you even wondered why it’s been nearly six months since Google last refreshed the free Google Voice for iPhone application (it still lacks iOS 7 styling)? After all, isn’t Google Voice supposed to be a priority for the Internet giant?

For those unfamiliar with it, Google Voice is a telephony service that offers a bunch of nice features such as voicemail, free text messaging, call history, conference calling, call screening, call routing, blocking of unwanted calls and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages, to name a few.

According to a new report, Google could be looking to retire the standalone Voice app for iOS and Android and instead fold its functionality into the native Hangouts app, which was released in the App Store in May of 2013…

Google Hangouts 2.0 is out with iOS 7 redesign, full iPad support, video messaging and more

Google updated the iOS client for its popular messaging platform Hangouts today, bringing the app to version 2.0. The update brings about a number of improvements including full optimization for the iPad and iOS 7 and more.

A few new features have also been added, such as the ability to share animated stickers and record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long. Additionally, you can send a map of your current location to other Hangouts users…

Google Hangouts for iOS updated with status updates

Google posted a significant update for its Hangouts app yesterday, bringing the Android client to version 2.0. The update included several new features like SMS and MMS support, animated GIFs, and one-tap location sharing.

The good news is that the tech giant didn’t forget about iPhone and iPad users, and posted a new version of its iOS client as well. The bad news is that it’s not half the update that Android users got, with just a handful of changes…