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