Thursday , October 19 2017

Hangouts gets video messages, and kills Merged Conversations

Hangouts logo

Google’s Hangouts messaging platform is one of those products that seems to evoke strong emotions amongst those who use it. Typically you either love it or you hate it. For me the cross-platform, multi-featured nature of it, 3 years ago, made it my app of choice, and whilst recently it hasn’t kept pace with competitors like Telegram, messenger or WhatsApp I’ve remained faithful, partly due to the fact that it had merged conversations!

With the announcement of Allo and Duo at Google IO 2016, many have been wondering what the fate of Hangouts will be. For those fearful of its eventual depreciation, today’s update may serve as at least a temporary ray of hope.

On to the feature! Video messages. You can now create and send video messages from within hangouts. No more having to create a video in the camera app and hope it’s small enough to send.

As you can see following the update you’ll have an extra icon in your lower tray allowing you to initiate a video message. the capture interface allows you to use either the front or rear-facing camera as well as allowing you to pause. Once you’re done, click the familiar green Hangouts send icon and it will – eventually- be uploaded, processed and then sent you your recipients.

We’re not sure this is actually the feature people are wanting Google to bring to Hangouts, perhaps a confirmation button before commencing a video hangout or file sharing or an incognito mode could have been better options?

The removal of Merged conversations is going to largely unnoticed, according to Google the feature had low usage, and completely infuriated everyone else. I stand infuriated. If they wanted to nudge their most hardcore users off the platform, great first step Google.

According to Google’s support documents the feature had little uptake and was confusing to users. I would argue that if it had little uptake it was only enabled by power users who are unlikely to be confused by this feature. Yes, I”m mad and I’m ranting. In the Doc’s Google once again nudges users towards using Google’s Messenger app for SMS.

I for one am glad to see Hangouts still getting updates. With the status of a desktop or web client for Allo and Duo still conspicuously not a topic for discussion with Google I need a cross-platform messaging solution going forward, however with merged conversations gone one of it’s big draw cards just got killed.

Hangouts
Hangouts
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Are you excited for video messaging built into Hangouts for Android? Let us know below.

 
Source: Android Police.

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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13 Comments on "Hangouts gets video messages, and kills Merged Conversations"

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Member

Guess now I’ll start using Google Messenger for SMS

Member

Little take up? seems unlikely.

nevetsg
Valued Guest
nevetsg

I was having a good day. This just ruined it.

nevetsg
Valued Guest
nevetsg

is there a way to block future updates for a single app?

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

Yep, open hangouts in the playstore, click the overflow menu button on the top right and deselect auto-update

nevetsg
Valued Guest
nevetsg

unfortunately only a good solution if you have automatic updating turned on. I prefer to pic a time to update my apps.
i may have to change my ways.

Johan Appelgren
Valued Guest
Johan Appelgren

Expected since they’ve been nagging you to switch to the standalone SMS app. Still annoying since i think a merged view is more convenient and easier to use.

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

Sending images seems to have been afected

Murray
Valued Guest
Murray

Losing merged conversations!?!?!? Why do that Google?

Member

Facebook is nagging me to use merge conversations with Messenger and now Google is doing the reverse. For me Hangouts trumps Messenger because everyone with an Android has Hangouts, but a large proportion of my friends refuse to touch Facebook with a barge pole. There is no reason to think Hangouts is going away, although Google is pushing their SMS app at every opportunity. Maybe we should all switch to Wickr.

Member
Matt

Ok great my mums gonna freak out..

Will Dutton
Valued Guest
Will Dutton

Honestly i pretty much gave up on hangouts as soon as it came out, it was less convenient than talk and now even less people seem to use it, the fact that I couldnt see if the person was online or had received my message was a stinker too

Johan Appelgren
Valued Guest
Johan Appelgren

You can see how far each participant in a conversation has read and it tells you how long ago someone was last seen. Since most people are always online on their phones I haven’t missed an online/offline indicator.

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