Google officially revealed their messaging app at the Google I/O 2013 keynote event today. The app which was previously rumored to be called Babel is now available for Android, iOS and Google Chrome and will replace Google Talk and Google+ Messenger. Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, who introduced the app says that it unifies the company’s numerous messaging services into one.
Some of the features of Google Hangouts include
- Say more with photos and emoji.
- See when people are together in Hangouts, when they’re typing, or whether they’ve seen your message.
- Turn any conversation into a video call with up to 10 friends.
- Message friends anytime, even if they’re not connected right now.
- Use Hangouts on computers, Android and Apple devices.
- Hangouts stay in sync across devices so you can start or continue them anywhere.
- Choose from hundreds of emoji to help you make your point
- See what you talked about in the past, including shared photos and your video call history.
- Get notifications just once. Once you see an alert, you won’t see repeats on your computer or other Android devices.
- View collections of photos shared from each of your Hangouts.
- Snooze notifications at times when you’d prefer to be undisturbed by alerts.
- Unlike Google Talk, Hangouts does not support “invisible” status.
The great thing about this app is that it is cross platform compatible. This means that you don’t have to worry on what device your friend is using. They can be on their desktop, iOS or Android device and you will still be able to communicate with them.
Google Hangouts also allows you to see who among your friends is available to chat with. You’ll be able to see if they have read the message you have sent, or if they are participating in any Hangout call. You can also easily chat with an entire group of selected people thanks to Google Circles. If your friend is offline when you send the message they will be receiving it as soon as they get online.
Aside from the regular text messages Hangouts also supports photo sharing, video chats and more than 850 emoji and sound effects.
As of now the only thing missing is SMS support as well as VoIP support. This will probably be coming in future updates of the app. What isn’t included in this initial release is Hangouts On Air broadcasting directly to YouTube which is expected to come later.