Category: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts Dropping SMS Support – But Not for Project Fi Users

Google has sent notifications out to G Suite customers that in starting next week, a warning will show up in Google Hangouts that SMS will no longer be supported.  That support will end on May 22nd.  The notification and change is part of the overall strategy of Google to move their G Suite customers to the new Google Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat while leveraging Android Messages for SMS on Android devices.  For consumers, the focus is on Google Allo and Duo to meet these communications needs.

For those readers who are on Project Fi (I am one of them) or using Google Voice, this change does not impact you.  This change only impacts G Suite customers who are using carrier numbers to send and receive SMS messages.  This fits along with what Google told me earlier this month at the Google Next Cloud event in San Francisco.

Google Hangouts Update is a bit of House Cleaning

Google Hangouts has an update rolling out for Android that is probably best described as a house cleaning release.  The update takes the messaging app to version 16 and cleans up contact lists and improves search within the app.  Contact lists in this update are more streamlined with the Contacts option in the menu now gone.  It has been removed from this part of the app as it was redundant to the Floating Action Button in your chat lists.  You can use that FAB to add a chat with any contact(s) so they are effectively listed there for you.

Search within Hangouts has also been improved around contacts.  Now when you tap the FAB to start a new conversation, when you start to type in the name of a contact, you will see four different lists:  Frequent, On Hangouts, Your Groups and Not on Hangouts.  The idea here is to quickly identify what communication paths are open for a contact so you can chose the best one for them.  For those who are not on Hangouts, you will see an “Invite” link by their name.

Google Acquires Lime Audio to Improve Conference Audio

Google has announced that they have acquired Lime Audio to boost their audio performance in Chromebox for Meetings and Google Hangouts.  The acquisition, of which the financial details were not released, will allow Google to improve the audio experience as more customers are turning to video and audio conferencing in their day-to-day operations.

One of the biggest challenges to a great video meeting is the audio quality. Conference rooms today come in all shapes and sizes and that can provide a challenge for acoustics. Additionally, a poor internet connection can hamper voice quality in video conference calls. Limes Audio has been building solutions that remove the distracting noise, distortion and echoes that can affect online video and telephony meetings, improving the overall online conference experience.

Based on the release about the acquisition, Google is going to be incorporating the Lime Audio technology in to Chromebox for Meetings and Google Hangouts.  When or how this will be done was not disclosed.

New Android-Like Hangouts Chrome Extension Now Available

If you are a heavy user of Hangouts and use Chrome or Chrome OS, there is a new extension and app for you to check out.  Last week Google announced that a new, Android-like Chrome extension for Hangouts would be coming out with the aim to improve performance and the overall look and feel of the UI.  Achievement unlocked as both the extension and the app look far better than the old style and both perform exceptionally well.

The new extension can be found in the Chrome Web Store which allows you to run Hangouts while you are using your Chrome browser regardless of platform.  This is what the majority of users will want, especially Chrome OS users, as the browser tends to stay open all the time.

Google Updates Hangouts With Direct Share Support

Google Hangouts has been updated for Android that brings a much desired feature for those who use Hangouts a lot:  Direct Share.  For those who aren’t familiar with what I’m referring to, Direct Share allows you to share content from another app directly to someone on Hangouts.  To this point, if you wanted to share something, it was difficult and involved a fair bit of cutting and pasting in some cases.  That isn’t a big deal for those who don’t use the app much but for power users, it was a time consuming step.  That, for the most part, is gone now.

Massive Google Hangouts Update Rolling Out Now

This afternoon Google began pushing out a big update to Google Hangouts, their SMS & IM app for Android.  The update brings the app to version 7 and this is one that all users will want to get and try out.  Perhaps the biggest new feature is one that many Hangouts users had requested:  The ability to do Quick Replies.

Everyone pause for a moment and soak in the glory.

Now on the Notification Shade, you can do a quick reply to a message and send it.  It saves you from having to open up the Hangouts app and makes replies, especially while you are on-the-go (but not driving… because driving and Hangouts don’t mix).  There is nothing you need to do to enable the feature.  It will be automatically started for you after you upgrade to this new version.

The Benefits of Hangouts For Project Fi Subscribers

One of the big misconceptions about Project Fi is that you are absolutely required to use Google Hangouts for your SMS/MMS and Instant Messaging app.  Here is a quote from a post I made a couple of weeks ago on the subject:  If you are a new Project Fi users, chances are you are a bit confused.  That confusion surrounds SMS and which app you can use for getting your text messages on your Nexus phone using Fi.  On the surface, it looks like you are required to use Google Hangouts, the voice, video and yes, text messaging integrated app.  But that not necessarily true and in fact, even Google suggests that you use Google Messenger, the default SMS app on Nexus devices, for texting.

That said, for those of us on Project Fi, there are some benefits to having everything in one app like Hangouts.  Not only does it give you one app to go to for your communications, the information synchronizes with Hangouts on your PC.  That means you can get your messages and your texts on your desktop, read them and reply to them.  If you haven’t considered moving your SMS/MMS communication to Hangouts, read this article and see if it is right for you.  A lot of it will depend on how you communicate and with whom.  But after being an avid Messenger user for most of 2015, when I switched to Project Fi, I embraced Hangouts and haven’t looked back.

Google Account No Longer Required For Hangouts Video Calls

In a post today on the Google apps blog, the company has announced that users who need to access a Google Hangouts video call no longer need to have a Google account to join.  The update follows on an update from last year where an external link could be provided to a Hangouts video call even if they were not explicitly invited.  This new update really pushes Hangouts as a video, voice and conferencing platform given how widely used it is and the fact it is on both Android and iOS devices as well as the web.

The way that this new feature will work is pretty slick.  Users with the external link will click on that link, put in their name in the dialog box that pops up and click the Request to Join button.  Organizers of the Hangouts call will get a pop-up with that users information and can either Accept or Decline to let them in to the call or not.  It’s simple and for anyone who has used a video conferencing solution in the past, will feel very familiar.

Project Fi Users, No, You Don’t Have to Use Hangouts

If you are a new Project Fi users, chances are you are a bit confused.  That confusion surrounds SMS and which app you can use for getting your text messages on your Nexus phone using Fi.  On the surface, it looks like you are required to use Google Hangouts, the voice, video and yes, text messaging integrated app.  But that not necessarily true and in fact, even Google suggests that you use Google Messenger, the default SMS app on Nexus devices, for texting.

So what gives?  What’s the truth and what is the plus or minus of using Google Hangouts or Google Messenger?  Essentially it comes down to where you want messages to appear and on which devices and how you plan to communicate to friends and family.

Google Hangouts for Android Updated With Bug Fixes

Google Hangouts has been updated today in the Google Play Store and it should be hitting your devices soon.  The new 5.0.104885319 version for those keeping score at home brings mostly bug fixes to the texting-meets-chatting app from Google.  You aren’t going to find a lot of changes in this build from a feature perspective but if you are a user of the Google Hangouts widget on your home screen…. well, it just got a little sad for you.

Google Hangouts for Android – Free – Download Now

Google Hangouts Traffic to Traverse A New Domain

A couple of weeks ago I posted on the new Google Hangouts website where you can use the messaging service without actually having to be on your Android phone or tablet.  Now Google is going one step further and moving all traffic from the messaging service to a new domain,

Following the launch of the new standalone Google Hangouts homepage, Hangouts-related services and web traffic will be served from ‘’ in addition to existing host names.

This news isn’t really all that shocking and frankly it makes a lot of sense for Google to do this.

Google Hangouts for Android – Free – Download Now

Google Hangouts Website Now Available

Last week I told you about the all new Google Hangouts 4.0 that was released for Android as well as iOS (with a few less functions).  If you haven’t tried it out, do yourself a favor.  This is not the old Hangouts.  It’s far smoother an experience and generally a much nicer experience.  As part of that release, Google has quietly released a Google Hangouts website that allows you to use your browser to be your Hangouts app.  Like the apps for the mobile devices, it’s buttery smooth and beautifully designed.