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Samsung Galaxy S6 Tutorials, Guides, FAQs, How Tos and Tips [Part 9]

Galaxy-S6-Tutorials-Apps

Good day readers! Welcome to the 9th chapter of our series on Samsung Galaxy S6 Tutorials. This chapter contains random tutorial topics that will help you get the best from your new Samsung smartphone. Read on to understand and learn how to use the key features of your new device.

Check out the following outline of topics to have a quick overview of what the entire post is all about:

  1. Calculator
  2. Calendar
  • Basic Calendar App Operations
  • How to View Today’s Calendar:
  • How to Change Calendar View:
  • How to View the Next/Previous Time Period:
  • How to Add an Event to the Calendar
  • How to Select a Calendar
  • How to View Calendar Events on the Galaxy S6
  • How to Share Calendar Events on the Galaxy S6
  • How to Sync Calendars on the Galaxy S6
  • How to Sync an Exchange ActiveSync Calendar on the Galaxy S6
  1. Clock
  • How to Set Date and Time on the Galaxy S6
  • How to Set Alarms on the Galaxy S6
  • How to Use World Clock
  • How to Use Stopwatch on your Galaxy S6 Clock app
  • How to Use Timer on your Galaxy S6 Clock
  1. Gallery
  2. Google Hangouts
  3. Google Maps
  4. Google Search
  • How to access Google Search Options
  • How to enable Google Now
  • How to disable Google Now
  • How to use Google Voice Search
  1. Memo
  2. Music
  • How to Play Music or MP3
  • How to Create and Use Playlists
  • How to Edit a Playlist
  • How to configure Music options and Settings
  1. My Files
  • How to View Files in My Files
  1. S Voice
  2. Video
  • How to use Pop-Up Play
  1. Voice Recorder
  • How to create a Voice Recording
  • How to Play Back a Voice Recording
  • How to Share a Voice Recording
  • How to Modify a Voice Recording
  • How to Delete a Voice Recording

Samsung’s newest Galaxy S6 smartphone flagship is tagged among the high-end mobile devices, which is packed with a number of useful applications and features, promising every user with an even better and cleaner mobile phone experience.

To help you get started, we have enumerated the most useful apps and features available along with the steps on how to access each of them.

Galaxy S6 Calculator App

If numbers are what you’re dealing with mostly each day, then the Calculator app would be a great help. It’s a convenient built-in application that allows you to perform basic mathematical equations, especially designed for those who don’t want to bother calculating numbers manually.

Aside from the standard numeric keypad, you can also use the scientific keypad on the S6 calculator when dealing with scientific equations.

Here’s how to access and launch your phone’s calculator app:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Calculator. The calculator app opens.
  3. To start calculations, tap the onscreen keys.
  4. If you want to use the scientific calculator, just rotate the screen to the landscape orientation to display the scientific calculator keys.

Hint: Be sure to turn on or enable Screen Rotation first so you can rotate the screen from portrait to landscape and vice-versa. To do so, open the Notification Panel, and then touch Screen rotation to activate it.

Galaxy S6 Calendar App

If your job is associated with organizing events, meetings and appointments, then the Calendar app would serve you best. With this application, you can easily manage your time and be reminded of important events.

The Galaxy S6 Calendar app remains in sync with your Calendar on the Web, Google Calendar, Outlook calendar and Exchange ActiveSync calendar, based on your synchronization settings.

Hint: You must sign in to a Google account on your phone in order to sync with your Google calendar.

Basic Calendar App Operations

Among the things you can do with the Calendar app include viewing today’s calendar, changing calendar view and viewing the next or previous time period.

How to View Today’s Calendar:

  1. Open the Calendar app.
  2. Tap Today.

How to Change Calendar View:

  1. Open the Calendar app.
  2. Tap the drop-down menu located in the upper left corner.
  3. Tap Year, Month, Week, Day or Tasks to change the current view.

How to View the Next/Previous Time Period:

  1. Open the Calendar app.
  2. Flick the screen right or left.

How to Add an Event to the Calendar

Events can be added directly from the Galaxy S6 Calendar app with the following steps:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Calendar to open/launch the calendar app.
  3. Touch the New icon in the lower right corner to open the add event window.
  4. Enter all required information like event title, start date/time, and more.
  5. After entering necessary details, touch Save to add the event to your calendar.

How to Select a Calendar

If you have set up multiple calendars on your device, you can choose a calendar by tapping the current Calendar on the Add Event screen.

  1. To create an event that will only appear on your phone, select My Calendars from the given options.
  2. To create a Google Calendar event, select your Google Account. If you have multiple Google Calendars on the Web, just choose one in which to add your event.

Hint: Multiple Google Calendars can only be created in Google Calendar on the Web. You’ll be able to view them in the Calendar app on your S6 smartphone after creating them in Google Calendar.

  1. To create an event that will sync with your Samsung account, select Samsung Calendar from the given options.
  2. To create an event that will sync with Outlook or Exchange accounts, select your Outlook or Exchange account.

How to View Calendar Events on the Galaxy S6

There are different ways to display calendar events on your phone. You can view the Calendar in year, month, week, day, or task view. To change the calendar view, tap the drop-down menu located at the upper-left corner, and then tap to select a view option.

Here’s how to view calendar events on your phone.

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Calendar to open the app.
  3. Tap a date, and then tap an event.
  4. To view details and edit an event, tap the event.

How to Share Calendar Events on the Galaxy S6

You can share a Calendar event with others using different methods after you’ve created the event. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Calendar.
  3. Tap a date and then tap an event to view its details.
  4. Tap Share from the event details screen.
  5. When prompted with the Share as window, select a Share as option you want to use. Available options are Event file (VCS) and Text.
  6. Choose a sharing method (Share via).
  7. Follow the onscreen instructions to send the Event information.

How to Sync Calendars on the Galaxy S6

With the Galaxy S6 Calendar app, you can choose which calendars you would want to sync on your phone along with what types of information you want to sync. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Calendar to open the app.
  3. Touch More.
  4. Touch to select Manage calendars from the given options.
  5. On the next screen, tap the ON/OFF switch next to each item to choose sync options.
  6. Once the sync settings have been updated, you can manually sync your calendars by swiping down on the screen. And the selected calendars sync.

How to Sync an Exchange ActiveSync Calendar on the Galaxy S6

You can also sync Exchange ActiveSync calendar events if you have set up a Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync account on your phone. Calendar events on your Exchange ActiveSync can also be viewed in Calendar if you opt to sync with the Exchange ActiveSync Server.

Follow these steps to check if Exchange ActiveSync items are set to be synchronized on your phone:

  1. Touch Apps.
  2. Touch Settings.
  3. Touch Accounts.
  4. Touch to select Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

Hint: If you are not seeing Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync under the Accounts heading in the Settings menu, then it means you do not have configured an Exchange ActiveSync account on the phone. You may choose to add or set up an Exchange ActiveSync account now or at a later time.

Another indication that your Exchange ActiveSync account is set for synchronization is the ON/OFF switch next to Sync Calendar that is turned ON.

Galaxy S6 Clock App

With the clock app, you can set alarms, view time in global time zones, use a stopwatch, set a timer, and use your phone as a desk clock when necessary. Even if you don’t have a watch, you will still be able to check the time on your phone.

On the Galaxy S6, the time is displayed in the upper right corner of the Status Bar. Aside from the Home screen, the time can also be shown in many widgets and lock screens, providing options for on how the time is displayed.

How to Set Date and Time on the Galaxy S6

The Galaxy S6 automatically gets the current date and time from the wireless network. You can also set the date manually by overriding the default setting. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Settings.
  3. Touch Date and Time.
  4. Set date and time options available.
  • To turn off Automatic date and time and set the date and time manually, tap the ON/OFF switch next to Automatic date and time option.
  • To turn off Automatic time zone and select a time zone manually, tap the ON/OFF switch next to Automatic time zone option. Changes you’ve made to your phone’s date and time settings are applied and saved afterwards.

How to Set Alarms on the Galaxy S6

You can use your phone’s Clock application to set multiple alarms on your device. Here’s a quick guide for you to refer to when necessary.

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Clock.
  3. Touch Alarm.
  4. Configure the alarm options such as time, days, and repeat pattern. To view more options, touch Options.
  5. Once you’re done setting the alarm options, touch Save.

Hints:

  • An indication that an alarm is set and active is the alarm icon displayed in the Status Bar.
  • Your phone sounds the alarm and/or vibrates at the set alarm time.
  • To dismiss the alarm, drag the red X icon to left or right when the alarm sounds.

How to Use World Clock

With the world clock, you can monitor the current time in multiple cities around the world. Here’s how to access world clock on your Galaxy S6 clock app:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Clock.
  3. Touch World Clock.
  4. To add a city to your list, tap a city and then tap the + icon (Add City icon). Follow the same steps to add multiple cities.

How to Use Stopwatch on your Galaxy S6 Clock app

The stopwatch allows you to time events down to the hundredth of a second. Here’s how to access and use the stopwatch on your Galaxy S6:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Clock.
  3. Touch Stopwatch.
  4. To start timing, tap Start.
  5. To stop timing, tap Stop.

Hint: You can also use other options such as Lap to keep track of laps, Resume to continue timing, and Reset to reset the stopwatch to zero.

How to Use Timer on your Galaxy S6 Clock

Your phone’s clock app has a timer that offers a countdown timer for up to 99 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds. Here’s how to access and use the clock app timer on your phone:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Clock.
  3. Touch Timer.
  4. To set the length of the timer, tap KEYPAD and then use the keypad.
  5. To start the timer, tap START.

Galaxy S6 Gallery App

With the Gallery app, you can view photos and watch videos that you’ve downloaded or taken with your phone’s Camera. You can also perform basic editing like cropping and rotating, set a picture as your contact picture or wallpaper, as well as share pictures with your friends.

Hints:

  • To view more albums, scroll up the screen while viewing pictures in your phone’s Gallery.
  • To view photos or videos within an album, simply tap that album.
  • Downloaded photos and videos will be stored in the All downloads album.

Here’s how to access the Gallery on your phone:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Gallery, to open the Gallery app.
  3. Once you’re inside the main Gallery screen, you can use any of the available options or perform any of the following operations:
  • Display a picture/video in full screen, by tapping a picture or video.
  • Select thumbnails, by touching and holding the thumbnails. Once selected, a check mark will appear.
  • Choose another display style, by tapping the drop-down list in the upper left corner.

Note: Time view is used by default. Other view options include Albums, Events, Categories, or Locations.

  • Launch the Camera to take pictures or record video by tapping Camera.
  • View additional options such as Edit, Share and Search, by tapping More.

Note: Available options may vary depending on the Gallery screen you are viewing.

Galaxy S6 Google Hangouts App

If you’re fond of sending instant messages, then having Google Hangouts is an advantage. With this app, you can communicate with other Hangout users, as well as use video calling on the go. All you have to do is log in to a Google account beforehand.

Here’s how to use Hangouts on your phone:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Google.
  3. Touch Hangouts to open the Hangouts app.
  4. To start a new Hangout, tap the + (Add icon) sign.
  5. Enter a name, email, number, or circle, or select a contact from the list.
  6. To start a video chat, type a message or tap the Video icon, and wait for the chat window or video chat window to open.

Hints:

  • Each time you enter a text, the corresponding friend displays.
  • You will be prompted with a message if a friend is not in a Hangout.
  • To invite your friends to join the Hangout, tap Send invitation.

Among the operations you can do with Google Hangouts are as follow:

  • End a Video Chat – To end a video chat, tap the End Hangouts Video icon in the video chat window.
  • Disable Chat History – If you no longer want to keep chat history, then you can disable it in the chat window by tapping More options, and then select Turn history off.
  • Delete Chat History – To erase all your chat history, tap More options, select Delete, and tap Delete again to confirm deletion of chat history.

More Hints:

  • You can also use Hangouts and set it as default messaging app for your phone, or use it as a standalone IM application. Once you’ve set Hangouts as the default messaging app, the stock Messages app will be disabled.

Galaxy S6 Google Maps

With the Google Maps app, you can determine your location, find directions, browse for local businesses and attraction sites, rate and review places, and more. In order to use this application, you need to turn on or enable the Location feature on your phone beforehand.

Here’s how to View Maps of Specified Locations (address or destination) using your phone’s Google Maps app:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Google.
  3. Touch Maps to open the Google Maps app. Hint: If this is the first time you access Maps on your device, you may be prompted to accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. To proceed, simply tap Accept & Continue.
  4. To start a search, tap in the search box.
  5. Enter an address, city, facility name (and the like), and then tap any of the specified location from the results list to view the map.

When you open Google Maps, you can perform any of the following operations:

  • View Current Location – tap the My Location icon.
  • Obtain Useful Area Information for Current Location – tap the Search field, enter the information you are searching for, and then tap to view a result.
  • View Traffic Information, Aerial Photos, Etc. – tap the Menu icon, and then tap Traffic, Satellite, Google Earth, etc.
  • Check Route to Destination – tap the Route icon, enter your current location and your destination. Finally, tap a preferred method of transport to view available routes.
  • Check Detailed Operation for Maps – open Google Maps, tap Menu and then select Help.

Galaxy S6 Google Search App

This app is best used for performing information searches over the Internet using your phone. All you have to do is type the search terms or keywords in the Google Search bar and get relevant results in an instant.

In case you need help, here’s a quick guide on how to use Google Search on your S6 device.

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Tap the Google Search bar to open the Search window.
  3. If prompted with a description for Google Now, tap “What can Google Now do?” and read the information. If you want to use Google Now, tap “Yes, I’m In” on the last page.
  4. Enter the keyword or search term and tap Search. The results are displayed.

You can also search by voice. To do so, tap the Google Voice Search icon (microphone icon) in the search box and then speak your search terms. Be sure to speak clearly.

How to access Google Search Options

There are different options you can use on Google Search. To access and configure Google Search options, go to the main Google Search screen and then press the Back key.

Among the options you can set include the following:

  • Option to Change Search Information – To do so, open the Search window, tap Menu, select Settings, tap Phone search, and choose where to search.
  • Option to Use Google Now – Information searches with Google Now are automatically done based on many factors including your search keywords used and your current location, to name a few. Search results will be presented in the search screen.

How to enable Google Now

Follow these steps to active Google Now on your S6 device:

  1. Open the Search Window.
  2. Touch Menu (represented by a three-horizontal line icon).
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Touch Now cards.
  5. Tap the ON/OFF switch next to Show cards.

How to disable Google Now

Follow these steps to disable or turn off Google Now on your phone:

  1. Open the Search Window.
  2. Touch the Menu icon.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Touch Now cards.
  5. Tap the ON/OFF switch next to Show cards. Tap Turn Off to confirm action.

How to use Google Voice Search

Google Voice Search lets you perform searches using your voice instead of typing keywords to search. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Google.
  3. Touch Voice Search to open the Voice Search window.
  4. Speak your search terms or keywords.
  5. When the search results appear, select the information you want.

Galaxy S6 Memo App

You can save text, memos, and lists using the Galaxy S6 Memo application. Here’s how:

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch Memo to display the memo list.
  4. To add a memo, tap the Add Memo icon (+).
  5. Enter your memo title and text.
  6. When finished, touch Save to save the memo.

Galaxy S6 Music App

With the Music app, you can play your favorite songs on the go. You can also use the app to browse your music library, create playlists, and set songs as ringtones for incoming calls or as alarm tones.

Playback will continue in the background even when you close the Music screen, allowing you to listen to music while using other features of your phone. You can also access playback controls from the Notification Panel while the music is playing.

How to Play Music or MP3

  1. Touch Apps from the Home screen.
  2. Touch Music to open the Music app. You will then get to the Playlists category.
  3. You can select from other categories available by tapping the drop-down list at the upper left corner, and then tap a category to show it. Among the default categories are Playlists, Tracks, Albums, Artists, Genres, Folders and Composers.
  4. To start playing a song, scroll through the list and tap a song to play.

Hint: While the music is playing, you can use any of the controls including Pause Playback, Start Playback, Previous Song, Next Song, and more. Simply tap the control icon to use it.

How to Create and Use Playlists

You can create playlists to group songs so you can listen to them together. Here’s how:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Music.
  3. Tap the drop-down list located in the upper left corner.
  4. Tap Playlists.
  5. Use any of the following options:
  • Tap an existing playlist to play its songs.
  • Create a new playlist by tapping the Create Playlist icon (+), enter a name for the playlist and tap Create.
  • Add songs to the playlist by tapping songs from the Tracks
  • Tap Done when you’re finished adding songs. The new playlist will then be saved under My Playlists.

How to Edit a Playlist

  1. Tap a playlist from the list.
  2. Tap Add to add more songs.
  3. Tap More to access more options including Edit, Rename, and Settings for the playlist.

How to configure Music options and Settings

There are different options and settings you can set or configure on the Music app. Follow these steps to access these options and configure them when necessary:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Music.
  3. To view additional options tap More.

Note: Available options may vary depending on the selected category. Among the default options are the following:

  • Edit – for editing songs or playlists.
  • Add to playlist/Create a playlist– for adding songs to a playlist, or create a new playlist depending on the tab.
  • Add to Favorites – to mark a song or playlist as a Favorite.
  • Delete – to erase or remove a song or playlist.
  • Play on other device – for streaming the song to other nearby devices.
  • Listen via Bluetooth – for playing music through a Bluetooth-compatible device paired with your phone.
  • Details – for viewing file details.

Here are the available Music App Settings you can configure:

  • SoundAlive – for choosing a setting to match the type of music you are playing.
  • Play speed – for setting playback speed. To set the default speed for music playback, touch and drag the slider.
  • Music auto off – for choosing a time period for a music to play after which Music app will close.
  • Smart volume – automatically adjusts the volume of all songs to an equal level when this feature is enabled.

Galaxy S6 My Files App

With My Files, you can manage your sounds, videos, photos, Bluetooth files, Android files, and other data in one convenient location. My Files also lets you launch a file if the associated app is already on your phone. Here’s how to use My Files on your Galaxy S6:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch My Files.

You will then be prompted with the different folders including, Recent files, Images, Videos, Audio, Documents, Download history, Shortcuts, Local storage and Cloud storage. Each of these folders contains files of relevant types.

Note: Available folders may vary depending on your phone configuration.

How to View Files in My Files

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch My Files.
  4. To view files or folders in a category, tap the category.
  5. Tap a file or folder to open/view.

Galaxy S6 S Voice App

S Voice (voice control) is a voice recognition application used to activate different functions on your phone. With this natural language recognition app, you can ask questions or speak commands for your device to carry out.

Here’s how to use S Voice on your S6 device:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch S Voice.
  3. When prompted, review and accept the terms and conditions, and then tap Next to continue.
  4. To set up a wake-up command, tap Start and follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Now speak a command or anything you want your phone to do for you. You may choose any of the given examples or use your own command.
  6. If the phone does not hear you, tap the S Voice Microphone icon, and give it a command.

Note: You may need to set up the S Voice wake-up command in the phone’s setup screens.

Galaxy S6 Video App

As the name implies, the Video app lets you play videos stored on your phone or from other devices. To use this app for playing videos synced from your other devices, you need to sign in to your Samsung account.

Follow these steps to use Video app on your phone:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Video.
  3. Scroll through the videos saved on your phone. Wait for a few seconds and each video thumbnail starts playing a preview of the clip.
  4. Tap to view or play a video you want.

How to use Pop-Up Play

The Video app also lets you multitask with Pop-Up Play by transforming your video player into a pop-up floating on the screen. You can resize or move the pop-up window anywhere on the screen while the video is playing.

Here’s how to use Pop-Up Play on your Galaxy S6:

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Video.
  3. Tap a video you want to view.
  4. To display playback options, tap the screen, and then tap Pop-up.

A floating window appears with the video playing on it.

  1. To move the floating window, drag it to any location on the screen.
  2. To resize the floating window, use your two fingers to pinch or spread.

Galaxy S6 Voice Recorder App

Your phone also features a Voice Recorder app that lets you record an audio file up to a minute long and then share it immediately. Recording time may vary depending on the available memory in your phone.

How to create a Voice Recording

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch Voice Recorder.
  4. To select the appropriate recording mode, tap the drop-down list in the upper left corner. You may choose from Standard, Interview, or Voice memo.
  • Standard mode is used for picking up any sounds detected by the microphones.
  • Interview mode uses the top and bottom microphones for two-directional recording. Both microphones pick up equal amounts of sound and can be muted during recording or playback.
  • Voice memo is used for converting voice input to text on screen with the maximum recording time of five minutes.

There are different controls you can use with the Voice Recorder including the following:

  • Begin record – to start recording, tap this control and speak into the microphone.
  • Pause – to pause recording, tap this control.
  • Stop – to end the recording, tap this control.
  • Cancel – to cancel the recording, tap this control.
  • Turn on Call Rejection – to block incoming calls while recording, tap More and then select Turn on Call rejection.
  • Bookmark – to mark a spot in the recording, tap this control. Do this to easily find a recording later.

How to Play Back a Voice Recording

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch Voice Recorder.
  4. Touch the Recordings List icon.
  5. Touch a recording to play it back.

Hint: You can repeat, speed, skip muted, bookmark, or trim a video during playback. Just tap the option you want to use.

How to Share a Voice Recording

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch Voice Recorder.
  4. Touch the Recordings icon, and then touch and hold on a recording to view available options.
  5. Touch More, and then select Share.
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to select a file sharing method you want to use.

How to Modify a Voice Recording

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch Voice Recorder.
  4. Touch the Recordings icon.
  5. Touch and hold on the recording icon to select it.
  6. To display additional options, tap More. Among the options to choose include Edit, Share and Search.

How to Delete a Voice Recording

  1. Touch Apps from Home.
  2. Touch Samsung.
  3. Touch Voice Recorder.
  4. Touch the Recordings icon.
  5. Touch and hold on a recording to select it.
  6. Touch Delete.
  7. To confirm deletion of the voice recording, tap Delete again.

Note: Pre-installed apps and features available on the Galaxy S6 smartphone may vary from carrier to carrier. Some carriers have purposely removed some of the prominent apps and features to provide every user with better and cleaner experience.

And that’s everything in the 9th chapter of our Samsung Galaxy S6 Tutorials, How Tos and Tips series.

Please keep posted for more relevant contents to populate our Tutorials Index pages in the following days. We will do our best to provide you with more simplified references from basics to more advanced uses of the new Samsung flagship smartphone.

For more questions and/or guides/ specific tutorial requests on the Galaxy S6, please don’t hesitate to send them to us through email at [email protected] and we will be glad to assist you further. You may also visit our Facebook page to keep track of our latest posts and website updates through Facebook Newsfeeds.

Google Hangouts could lose SMS and MMS functionality soon: Rumor

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

If a new rumor is anything to go by, the #GoogleHangouts application could soon lose support for SMS and MMS. As we know, the app started supporting text messages quite a long time ago. Most users are using Hangouts as their default SMS application right now, so this could disappoint those users. However, given that Google is already offering the standalone Messenger application for Android devices, the switch might actually help the customers.

It is unlikely that this change would impact Google Voice users as it functions independently, despite using Hangouts for messages. So basically, this will only impact those who are relying on Hangouts as an alternative to their default SMS client.

Hangouts initially had a lot of issues, especially with group texts, but Google fixed them subsequently. Hangouts today is a pretty decent application that can serve as an alternative to your standard SMS client. So we’re not really sure why the company would want to remove this feature from the app.

Any theories?

Via: Phandroid

Hangouts 5.0 update could be available today with a revamped design

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

With today being Wednesday (as in, Update Wednesday), there’s speculation that #Google might officially send out the #Hangouts 5.0 update for Android devices. This update will change the design to a great extent and also bring forth some nifty features that should make usage a lot more streamlined and better.

GIFs should start working better on Hangouts now, although Google did enable support for this previously. Messages will load faster and the overall lag has been reduced to a great extent. So if you’re a user of Hangouts, make sure you keep an eye on that notifications bar for a pending update.

We must reiterate that not all users will get the update right away, so maintain patience if you’ve not received an update. Also, this word comes from an industry source and Google is yet to confirm it, so don’t be surprised if the rollout is postponed.

Interestingly, iOS users have already received the Hangouts 5.0 update some days ago with another bug patching update being sent out subsequently. We can only hope that Google was saving the best for the last by delaying the rollout for Android users.

Via: Phandroid

[Download] Google Hangouts gets a major design update, bumps to version 4.0

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts on Android has just been updated on the Play Store to version 4.0. This, as you’ve probably guessed by now, brings forth an all new design and improved integration with Android Wear smartwatches. With this update, you can now view conversations and respond to them directly from your wearable.

The general user interface of Hangouts on mobile has also been changed and looks less cluttered now, mainly due to the decrease in font size. So what else is new with Hangouts 4.0? Check out the changelog below for more:

  • Hangouts is sleeker. Now updated with material design, Hangouts has a new look and feel: items respond to your touch in more intuitive ways and transitions between tasks are more fluid.

  • Hangouts is simpler. The new Compose button makes it easier for you to start a new group or conversation. Our streamlined contacts list helps you find the right person quickly. And attachments have been revamped and simplified, so sharing—of emoji, GIFs, your location, even multiple photos at once—is a snap.

  • Hangouts is faster. Whether you’re sending a quick message or video chatting with family, you don’t want hold-ups. We’ve been obsessively fixing bugs and speeding up message delivery to make Hangouts faster and more reliable. Bonus: less battery consumption.

  • Make affordable calls from the Hangouts Dialer, now with Outbound Caller ID (so your friends won’t get any more calls from the great “Unknown”).Use Hangouts on Android Wear when you really have an eye on the time (just say, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message,” into your watch).

  • Receive and reply to group MMS messages in Hangouts using Google Voice.

  • Use Hangouts on Android Wear when you really have an eye on the time (just say, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message,” into your watch).

  • And if you’re not around but want friends to know what’s on your mind? Custom status messages are back.

The update has also arrived on the Google Play Store, but if you’re not seeing it just yet, make sure you grab the official APK file from the link below.

Hangouts 4.0 APK Download (MediaFire)

Source: Google Blog, Google Play Store

Via: Droid Life

Material Design update of Google Hangouts leaks out

Hangouts - Screenshot

Hangouts - Screenshot

While most of Google’s stock apps have received a Material Design makeover with Android 5.0 in mind, the company had kept the Hangouts app the same. But that could be changing soon, according to a new revelation made by Android Police. This leak reveals the latest iteration of Hangouts in its entirety, including the UI elements and the layout of the settings menu. Although there are some changes on board, some of the pertinent issues of the app haven’t been rectified by Google, which we’re guessing will be part of future updates.

The icon of Hangouts has now taken a darker color, in line with the Hangouts Dialer app. This was expected as Google likes to maintain uniformity with its apps. The apk wasn’t provided by the source, but the official update should start hitting devices sometime soon. At this point, these screenshots are all the data we have on this new update, but we’ll make sure you’re the first to know when more info is revealed.

Do you like what Google has done with the new Hangouts?

Via: Android Police

Google updates Hangouts with custom ringtones, hidden contact list, and more

Google updates Hangouts with custom ringtones, hidden contact list, and more

A Wednesday isn’t complete without Google pushing out an update to a few of its Android apps. Yesterday, the search giant updated its YouTube app, then followed it up by updating Hangouts as well. The Hangouts update’s most noticeable addition is the ability to set custom notifications tones for contacts, for both chat messages and video calls. (more…)

Google Hangouts update brings merged conversations, widget, improved performance

Google Hangouts update brings merged conversations, widget, improved performance

Hangouts, Google’s integrated messaging app, has received a major update today (to version 2.1.075) that brings in some considerable changes to improve the experience. Chief among them is the addition of a merged conversation list that now combines SMS and Hangouts messages from the same recipient and allows switching between the two via a button in the bottom left corner of the screen.  (more…)

Google hangouts, chat and drive down, the problem is not your end

Are you having trouble with your Google account, specifically Chat, Hangouts and Drive?  Well, you are not alone, there has been a reported failure of various Google services around the globe for  a couple of hours now and the problem is not your end, so stop diagnosing, troubleshooting and restarting (browser, connection or machine).

google-products-services

This failure, according to ZDNET, affects a section of users and it affects general and personal accounts of both free and paid Apps for business users.  I personally haven’t been able to load the Gmail chat service staring around 9 am PDT today, but I can access the Google Drive with ease.  What is not working for you?  Let others know to help calm those who panic easily.

So far, I haven’t seen any reaction or personalized message from the giant company, not even on the service failure notification message, but we will update you as soon as we hear anything from Google.

UPDATE: It appears that the Google Apps dashboard now admits there is a problem with Google Hangouts, Google+, Google Drive and Google Spreadsheets and it affects users globally.  However, it appears not everyone is affected, so for now it seems pretty random.

UPDATE: GTalk and Hangouts are back up on my end.

Let’s wait and see.

Source: Apps Status Dashboard via zdnet.com

Must-have video conferencing apps for Android

Video chatting

Video conferencing is not exactly something new to mobile devices. In fact, when 3G was first introduced to GSM networks, video-calling was the most-touted feature. Sadly, devices like the Nokia N90 and even the cheap LG KU250 “3G for all” did not end up popularizing video calling. While carriers theoretically supported video-conferencing through 3G networks, this was a poorly-marketed effort that was ahead of its time.

Fast forward to the era of smartphones, tablet computers and fourth-generation technologies. Today’s IP-based communication can more easily carry video calls with ease. iOS users have it easy, because FaceTime is built right into the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Macs. Higher-resolution FaceTime cameras ensure smooth video conferencing, which is especially enjoyable at fast connections.

Android users might not be so lucky in terms of built-in offerings, because video conferencing support will be device-dependent (read: if the device has a front-facing camera and if the specs can handle video calls). Still, video conferencing on capable devices can be a breeze if you have the right apps. What’s best is that most apps that work well with Android are also cross-platform, so users can easily chat with other mobile or desktop users even on different platforms.

Here are our top choices.

Google Hangouts

google-hangouts-talk-android-app

Google Hangouts is, of course, the default chat app on Android devices, although it does not come pre-installed on all Android phones and tablets. In fact, its predecessor, Google Talk, did not necessarily come with support on all ROMs. But Hangouts is an evolving product that actually combines various Google chat and communication efforts, including Talk, Google+ Messenger and Google+ Hangouts.

Google Hangouts works with up to 10 users in a video-conference, and the app has a high threshold for poor connectivity, so you can count on your Hangout still working even if you have a slow or choppy connection (quality will automatically adjust). Google Hangouts is also more flexible than your usual chat and video-conferencing app, because it is now integrated with Google Voice (clarification: calling regular telephones is a feature only available on the iOS variant for now). You can call regular telephone lines and have them as part of your conversation.

Google Hangouts is also cross-platform, and there are native apps on both Android and iOS, plus a web version that runs on Google Chrome. While the app does have the occasional bug (which might cause you to miss calls), Google is constantly improving its Hangouts network and application.

Google Hangouts is a free download or update from Google Play, the App Store and for desktop.

Tango

VoIP-Android-app-Tango

Yet another free app, Tango has been around for at least half a decade, starting out as a calling service. The app is also a cross-platform offering, and works across Android, iOS and desktop. The app primarily offers voice calling, as opposed to Google Hangouts, which focuses primarily on chat and video calls. Plus, users can exchange text messages and switch to video conference when a virtual face-to-face is the better mode of communication.

Tango has also recently launched itself as a platform for distributing games and content — a strategy that a lot of chat apps have taken themselves to doing, such as LINE, Kakao Talk and WeChat. Premium content is profitable, after all, and IM networks are earning tens of millions of dollars per year on stickers alone!

Tango is also free on Google Play and other platforms.

Skype

Skype

Perhaps the gold standard in video conferencing and voice calls, Skype offers secure messaging for free, and supports voice calls, instant messaging and video calls across platforms. Versions for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and various desktop platforms exist (the app is now owned by Microsoft, after all). Skype also has offerings for both consumer and enterprise customers, which means businesses are also using Skype for mission critical communications.

Skype’s basic service is free, although users can also pay for premium services like outbound calls to regular telephones, an inbound telephone number, and the like. One disadvantage, however, is that Skype users more resources than other apps because of its distributed processing platform. Skype essentially uses each connected device by taking idle CPU time and using it to process data.

Still, it’s a good app to have if you want a reliable chat and video conferencing app on Android. Skype is a free download on Google Play and other platforms.

ooVoo

Oovoo

ooVoo is another free, cross-platform video-conferencing app popular among Android users. The developers promise the best video quality even on low bandwidth situations, and users can video-conference with up to 12 people in a group. Being cross-platform, the app has variants for iOS, Android and desktop computers. The Android version itself supports at least 300 devices (which is a good thing, considering fragmentation and differences in device capabilities).

ooVoo even has a feature highly popular in photo apps today: filters. Users can set up filters during a video conference, to add some effects to their video stream. Get ooVoo now from Google Play.

Conclusion

Video is not exactly a mainstream usage scenario for these apps, because most users would rather send an instant message or call, which is usually simpler. But the fact that devices are now more capable of handling video calls with their built-in hardware makes this functionality more accessible. Now, video conferencing no longer requires expensive equipment meant for the corporate setting. Any smartphone, tablet or notebook computer will do.

But going beyond consumer-grade video chats and conferencing, the enterprise video conferencing industry is set to grow to a $1.1 billion dollar industry for “immersive” video chatting applications in three years’ time. The entire video-conferencing industry is set to grow to $3.8 billion by that time. Interestingly, three quarters of small businesses believe that in three years, video-conferencing will be the default means of communication on mobile and desktop devices. Will that mean goodbye to voice calls?

 Infographic credit: The rise of videoconferencing / Feature image: Shutterstock

Emoji Bug Causes Google Hangouts App To Crash

Google recently released an update to its Hangouts app that mainly brought SMS/MMS support to the app among one of its features. Hangouts v2 includes the following features

google_hangouts

  • SMS/MMS (Android 4.0+): send and receive text messages in Hangouts! No more chasing conversations across apps, texts will now appear in Hangouts and you can reply right there. We also let you import all of your existing text messages into the app, send/receive group texts and even text emoji to your friends on Android, iPhone, etc.
  • Animated GIFs: view and send GIFs in your Hangout
  • Location: you can now quickly share your location into conversations.
  • Device, in-call, mood status: share what device you’re using, whether you’re on a call, or your current mood. Status appears in conversations right alongside the “read up to here” indicator.
  • Quicker to start new conversations, you can now attach photos from other sources like Google Drive

One thing that Google didn’t anticipate though is that a bug is present in the latest update of the app which could be a breaking experience for those using the Nexus 5 since this is the default SMS app. The bug was first discovered by Reddit user Recon2012. The bug forces the Hangouts app to close and then fail to restart when someone sends a large number of emoticons in group chat. Users will then not be able to login properly on the app which renders it useless.

Recon2012 made a post in Reddit stating that

“We have 12 people in our hangouts group. One of my friends decided it would be funny to spam at least 10 pages of emoticons (a monkey and a pig, to be exact.)

Upon doing it, none of this could get into the app.

So why does this suck? Well, we all know that the Nexus 5 relies on Hangouts for SMS (Without the use of 3rd party SMS). But if some jerk were to spam you a bunch of emoticons it means you can not use hangouts at all.

The solution we found is to log into Google+ on a computer and leave the group, and you can enter hangouts after that.

All 6 of our devices could not log into Hangouts on our phones ans tablets, but this did not affect iPhone users for some reason.”

Google is already aware of this issue and already working on a fix. Dan Morrill, a Google employee who regularly visits the Android section of Reddit, said that the project manager of Hangouts has already been notified.

via reddit

Google Hangouts with SMS integration rolling out on the Play Store

google-hangouts-logo

Ever since Google launched Hangouts as a replacement to Google Talk, people have been asking the search giant to integrate SMS with Hangouts, making it a true all-in-one messaging app like Apple’s iMessage. With Android 4.4 KitKat, Google finally granted everyone’s wish, and now even those without KitKat on their phones can start using the new Hangouts with SMS integration.

That’s right, Google has finally begun rolling out an update to Hangouts on the Play Store that will bring the option to send text messages using one’s carriers without needing a separate messaging app. The new version comes on the Nexus 5 out of the box, and while it isn’t the kind of integration we were hoping for, with SMS and online chats being separate for each contact, it’s a start, so we aren’t going to complain.

Here’s the full changelog for the update:

  • SMS & MMS (Android 4.0+): Send/receive text messages with Hangouts! You can import your existing messages, quickly switch between SMS and Hangouts, and start group MMS conversations
  • Animated GIFs: send animated GIFs, cute kittens and all
  • Location: share a location in your conversations
  • Device, in-call, mood status: share what device you’re on, whether you’re on a call, or your current mood

As is usual with Google’s app updates, the rollout will be gradually trickling down to more and more devices in the coming days, so it might be a while before the update shows up in the Play Store for you. Impatient folks can grab the APK file from the links below and update manually, by transferring the file to their device and installing it via a file manager (be sure to enable installation from unknown sources in Settings » Security).

Download APK

Google Play Link

Google Hangouts Update Brings HD Video Streaming

Are you a regular user of Google’s Hangouts?  Have you noticed any changes in the quality of your hangout videos?  If you have, then you have received the latest Google Hangouts update that brings, among other things, 720p HD video streaming with hangouts.  Google is leaving behind the older H.264 video codec and going with the VP8.  The switch is almost complete and not all users have received the update yet.  If you haven’t don’t fret, you may be getting the update soon.  this update comes just days after another update that makes the application faster and adds other improvements and barely two days after we learnt that finally, AT&T users can use Google hangouts to make video calls even when using cellular data.

Google Hangouts HD video Calls

The guys at GigaOM got an exclusive with someone important at Google and learnt that the company has huge plans for the Hangouts video chats besides just bringing a better High Definition 720p experience to its users.  Google is switching to the newer VP8 coded that it launched a couple of years ago from the older H.264, a move that it promises will significantly improve Hangouts in general and help it grow.  At the moment, the most popular video calls application is Skype, owned by Microsoft but Google has its eyes set on the top spot.  Dethroning Skype will be no easy task though, but the HD video feature sure does help immensely.

The VP8 is an efficient and fast royalty-free video codec that does not require a third-party plugin installed to work.  What this means is that users can now place video calls over the internet and enjoy smooth HD video streaming with clear audio right on the computer browser without having to install any browsers.  The report also mentions that video conferencing with multiple users – up to 10 – will be easy and smooth despite the fact that it previously used a lot of computing power.  With the new plugin that comes with the Hangouts update, browsers can now process video streams faster at lower bit rates.

Google’s Vice President of Engineering Chee Chew confirmed that the switchover will not be noticeable by ordinary users easily, but they will notice when they see the video quality they receive after the update.  Chew promises that the Hangouts HD video support rollout will be completed soon – by the end of next week to be precise.  He however did not mention whether the HD video support for Android operating systems is a task in its short-term plans of upgrading Hangouts, but it is very likely that we might be seeing better video on Android’s and Chrome’s Hangouts soon.

Sources: GigaOM via PHAndroid

AT&T will allow Google Hangouts video calls via cellular data

AT&T Google Hangouts

AT&T Google Hangouts

The Hangouts app on Android has received an update which brings some very good news for AT&T users. Thanks to this update, users will now be able to make video calls through Google Hangouts using the cellular network, rather than Wi-Fi. Prior to this, users required to be on a Wi-Fi network in order to make or receive Hangouts video calls, due to AT&T’s strange policies.

It is said that this feature might take a while to reach all users across AT&T’s wide network, so users are advised to remain patient. It is claimed that it could take until the end of the year for the feature to be accessible across all AT&T branded Android devices.

AT&T has been blaming Android and Google for not being able to make video Hangouts over cellular data. But the carrier later issued a statement announcing its intentions to bring Hangouts video calls over cellular data.

Users can download the new updated Hangouts app from the Play Store with the link provided below. Feel free to shoot off in the comments box below with your opinions on the new update.

Source: Play Store

Via: Engadget

Google Hangouts Becomes Official, Is Now Live

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.

google hangouts

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.

You can now get this app at the Google Chrome Web Store or at Google Play.

via google