New version of Hangouts for Android

Today we're updating Hangouts for Android, and it's got a lot of the improvements you've been asking for!

- You can see who's reachable right now on Hangouts. Green icons mean they are, and gray icons mean they aren't.

- It's easier to browse your contacts when starting a new Hangout. From top to bottom you'll now see 'People you Hangout with’, 'Suggested People', and 'Other Contacts'.

- Hangout invites are now located above your conversations so they're easier to find.

- Aaaand... you can hide people from the New Hangout screen by pressing on their name for a few seconds and touching 'Hide contact.'

The update is rolling out on Google Play over the next few days (v1.2, http://goo.gl/6Sv8V), so give it a try and let us know what you think! #googleplusupdate
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166 comments
 
Great. Would be awesome if you guys could fix the notifications for video calls on mobiles. Half of the time they don't ring and just stay in the notification bar. :(
Jake Weisz
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Glad to see Google has admitted it had the case of the dumb, and backpedaled on online status. If only they'd realize the same about Cards UI.

Once this hits Gmail, I can finally upgrade that from Talk.
 
Any word in SMS support? Can it be expected it kit kat? :)
 
Amazing the whinging that goes on for a free product! 
 
Great stuff with the improvements. I hope to get this soon so I can start playing around with it.
Still, I would also love to be able to use Hangouts with SMS because none of my family or friends are still 100% on Google+, so I can't really use all of the great functionality that is packed into the app; so I have to use SMS on a day to day basis.
Maybe in the next version you'll include SMS?? :)
 
Can't try it as I don't have the update yet.

Two (minor in comparison to the SMS integration wishes) features desperately missing:

1. Unable to pinch-zoom pictures in the app. Why? Feature is in!
2. Ability to have a Hangouts entry in adressbook + the ability to put shortcuts to certain contacts on the homescreen/dock. Every other messaging app I know is able to do that. 
 
The Android version still doesn't allow you to start a new paragraph within one message.

Sometimes it's nice to separate things. The pc and iOS versions let you do this. Android will remove the new line and put it all together for no apparent reason. 
 
Nice update, but the ONE thing that is stopping my friends from using Hangouts daily is that it doesn't integrate seamlessly with SMS (or Google Voice, which they have given up on in lieu of iMessage).
 
Status, very important for Google Business Apps users
 
Nice update Hangouts Team :) Just need SMS / Google Voice features and we'll call this thing a done deal.
 
I thought the whole idea behind hangouts was to remove the online/offline notions and get to a async messaging paradigm. The main reason why I like Whatsapp and was hoping that hangouts could replace it. 
 
I understand that this change had to be made because of the internet rage over the idea of needing presence indication of everything.

That being said, the idea of presence needs to go away, since everyone is nearly always connected. I have no fewer than 5 devices that can connect to gmail. If I leave it signed in on one machine, it'll always say I'm "online" when I am not.

Presence worked when everyone had one computer and that was it. IT doesn't work/matter in 2013.
 
A share button while viewing pictures would be nice, hate having to save an image and then forward it from the gallery...
 
+Amit Bhor The online status was always there, least on the desktop. So the async messaging wasn't really getting pushed that hard to begin with.

Are there going to be updates to the desktop web client to match the icons UI? Also really hoping for the ability to limit Hangouts lookup to contacts and domain members, for those that use chat in the enterprise.
David Orr
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Presence is not whether you are signed in or not, it is whether you are available or not.  If someone is online, that is actively using a device that is signed into Hangouts, it is good to know.  

Often, I won't bother messaging someone unless I know they are online and available.  For some of us, myself included, the idea of not being 'online' seems anachronistic but so many (likely the majority) of people out there still actively differentiate.  To be honest, the longer I am 'always on', the more I try to be 'sometimes off' so I can just unplug for a bit.
 
+Randall Sarafa Great, thanks for confirming!

This was the most annoying shortcoming compared to Whatsapp usage. If only all other contacts would do me the favor and start using Hangouts... :-P 
 
Bigger emoji, please? They don't have to be Facebook stickers big, but right now they are a little too small. Even like a ten or twenty percent bump in size would make them massively easier to see and recognize. 
 
+David Orr Personally, I prefer async messaging without bothering with the 'status'. 
 
+Carl Bramhall I think it's just anticipation for the full Voice integration so that it can finally be presented as a full alternative to friends and family. I would so like to evangelize this to try and finally shift people away from SMS, but until it has that failsafe for the contacts that have feature phones/Windows/Blackberry/etc. I can't in good conscience do that.
 
+Amit Bhor Must async and statuses be incompatible? Honestly, I wish more attention was paid to status.  I really like how Whatsapp tells you the last time someone was 'seen' and is a feature I really would like to see in Hangouts.
 
i updated and this is NOT what my hangouts looks like at all. There's no green or gray icon, there's no pictures of my friends... there's no buddy list at all. I can see my phone contacts as a LIST and any one of my friends who are online (i can see them on chat for pc / mac) are NOT even listed in hangouts. Google, get your act straight.
 
Does this improve the share to hangouts issues?
 
+Shurple Sherry the update is rolling out slowly so you may not have received the latest version yet (which is v1.2)
 
+Shurple Sherry mine looks like this. I just posted a new apk up above. The rollout has not even come to most handsets yet as it will be a gradual roll out over the next few days. 
 
Finally! I'm gonna update right now even though I only have 10MB space left.
 
I think the only thing missing for me was that with gtalk you could start a voice conversation directly. Right now you have to start a video chat and then turn off the camera 
CS Wong
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+David Orr I've got a couple of friends who told me that they moved from whatsapp to Line just cos they didn't like the "last online" status and how it made them feel "tracked". Face it, ya can't win them all somehow.
 
Oh no, don't get me wrong +CS Wong, I am not ashamed to admit that I want it purely for stalking purposes.  My significant other better respond to my messages right away ;)
 
Please show the contact status in the conversation lists as well not just on the new hangout screen.  Also, some of my contacts are showing as green even though they're not using the phone right now is it possible to integrate the away status from gtalk.
 
+David Orr Don't mind the 'status' but don't prefer it front and center as a decision maker to message or not. 
 
Wow so we're back to online/offline status, why I don't get the need people see the message whenever its just like texting I don't know about you but I don't wait to see if someone's holding their phone to text them. The masses are ridiculous.
 
+Thomas Schwartz Yes, because the best cellphone features of the 1990s are still relevant today. Who uses SMS/MMS? And do they still own pagers and carphones?
 
+Randall Sarafa In the main panel where I see a list of all my previous conversations with people it would be nice to also have a green icon to see which people are available. I think most people start conversation from there with the people they in general chat with
 
Is the desktop/chrome client going to be updated to include these indicators?
 
+David Orr .. just bitter about how long it has taken Google to update this horrible chat app. I'm happy I have the option to roll back, but I really want this to work. +Jordan Perili , thank you!
 
+Randall Sarafa its awesome that you guys listen to feedback! :)

I also reported a couple of bugs..
I hope you 'll fix them, and make the experience even more awesome! :)
 
And where is the ability for me to set that status?  You know, away...  We use GTalk for our company, and we need to know who is at their desk.  I want people to be able to send me a message on my phone, but I want them to be able to know that when they are sending it to me, I am not at my desk so I might not respond right away.  The previous configuration was good, why did you have to change it to remove features...  
 
Is there a way, any way, to force the update to, well, update? I can't stand one more second of frustration.
 
Here is a fun rant :-) : Why no Star Trek symbols? Federation symbol, Enterprise ship, Vulcan sign, Klingon sign, Bat'leth, phaser, communicator, transporter, some key trek characters would also have been nice :-( considering how much you guys referred to it in I/O. Looking forward to that side of your creativity.
 
This is all very nice, but it is still entirely unusable to me until it works as my SMS/MMS client.
 
+Randall Sarafa here's a request. I do understand the rolling release over user base, so it can rolled back in case of problems.
but if the user manually goes to Play Store (web or app) and force the upgrade, please allow it to get the newest version, no matter what % the dashboard has :(
 
People who   need to send or receive SMS using their  Google voice account can use GrooveIP. I am not sure that Google is willing to add SMS support to hangouts since  it is valueless for a hangouts party. 
 
When I see you post a request for SMS/MMS features. My brain interprets it as "I want to go backwards!"
 
The problem for me is that everyone I would be in contact with ONLY uses SMS and email. None of them use, or have any desire to use, any type of chat or IM app.
 
Any chance we'll be seeing animated gif support in the future?
 
btw, if your phone is still on 4.2?
You havent received the OTA? :)
 
Can you please make it easier to tie hangout contacts back to specific Google contacts? Google apps contacts are really a pain and friends with more than one gmail address can also be problematic. It is hard to figure out to which profile the message is being sent. 
 
+nick martin , I was referring to the OP!
The time on screenshot is 4:20, so the android version! :)
 
Wow, now how about a Windows 8 modern App. It isn't like you know, Windows is the most popular OS for desktop and laptop computing out there!
 
+Brandon Clinger Windows 8 app?  Really?  Windows 8 apps are terrible. The only one I use is skype and to be quite honest, I'm just too lazy to rollback to the desktop version which has tons more options built into it. 

As far as hangouts are concerned, why would you want to take up the full screen for a chat window?  Sounds like wasted space.
 
Argh!  Still a full task.  Dedicating my entire phone or tablet to a chat is irritating.
 
Ugh, no, I don't want Online or Off status - I want Online/Away/Mobile device indicators like we have had for years. That is infinitely more useful since people now have numerous devices that are "online". That doesn't actually tell me if they are reachable. I'm glad you've added an icon, but it should be changed now to match the away/droid (mobile) status indicators from Google Talk in Gmail. That's all I need to make hangouts useful again. Heck, mobile indicators are even useful for starting hangouts, because a lot of people don't like using hangouts if they aren't at their desk. 
 
Still sucks, gTalk app is superior. i talk virtually to NOBODY in my circles. My circles are for g+ not private live. google shouldnt try to blur my private live with my online presence. i dont need to say what i want since gtalk app fits it perfectly....LISTEN..... P E R F E C T L Y ok little dent...let me share  files (music, pics, videos, etc) give me a gTalk+. Never change a Winning Team (google changed Maps, Gtalk, etc. and now Chrome .... _" which doesnt open my chrome apps with a new tab, just something i dont use. REALLY WHY do i need a google search window it the omnibar IS google search) 
 
Availability has nothing to do with whether I send someone a message. A response (or lack of one) is a fine indicator. They ARE online. I'll still message someone with a "Not Available" status. It doesn't matter. It was often inaccurate when people combined third party apps like Trillian, or Pidgin. Statuses would be "stuck" even though they were changed by the user. Too many devices, with too many statuses. It became useless and as mentioned unnecessary. It doesn't even help. It only shows up when using "New Hangout" screen (which I hardly ever see, because all previous hangouts are established and ongoing), or when in a hangout, clicking on People & Options to see the "availability".  This is the same appeasement which Microsoft is doing for the "missing" start button. They added a button. It still takes you to the new start menu.
 
So, when does the app show you someone as available? When his phone is on and connected? When he's using it? When he's using the app?
 
Still waiting for animated GIF support. iOS has it...
 
+Thomas Schwartz Which will come with Google Voice.

Not MMS though, Verizon, AT&T and T-mobile don't allow it. Sprint however does.

Anyways, you can still send pictures over it, just links to them instead of sending them via wires.
 
+Randall Sarafa  there is still an annoying bug in Hangouts.  When you insert an new line in a message using "shift+enter" it is stripped out when you send the message. 

It makes a message that says:
hey!
Whats up?

look like: 
hey! What's up?

This can mess up your message if you're trying to insert special formatting. 
 
Any word on an update for the Windows Plugin yet? 
 
Still looking forward to you guys bringing back the contact card when selecting the image of the person you're chatting with. Sometimes a phone call is more convenient than a video call.
 
we would love to have add ons on windows even
 
+Randall Sarafa so does that mean, that it has online AND away status indication, like the talk.apk has? if yes, i can finally upgrade.
 
It's hilarious to see the number of people who want online chat to revert to the obsolete SMS days when online status was technically impossible. Somewhere along the way they got used to not having that info and are now hailing it as a pinnacle of design. I for one am glad that I have status information. This the Internet age. We need more data - not less.
 
Please restore the search function in gmail for android as per the old gtalk. 
 
+Mitja Veil  Don't just yet.  I am waiting for mine to update to this latest version.  I would stay on Talk for a few more days before trying.
 
The Android version still doesn't allow you to start a new paragraph within one message.

Sometimes it's nice to separate things. The pc and iOS versions let you do this. Android will remove the new line and put it all together for no apparent reason. 
 
+Bhagwad Park The number of people calling for the integration of SMS would be equally hilarious then. And integrating it certainly wouldn't help in terms of online status indicators.
 
+Ashton Lafferty No harm in calling for SMS integration - after all, people want their lives to be easier and if they're messaging someone without hangouts or without an Internet connection, SMS is the logical choice. But if the person is available online, that extra information should be given to users. Basically whenever possible more info > less info.
 
I'm sticking with Talk. It gives me more than online and offline... I can set my status and it's clean. 
 
+Shurple Sherry …as more people transition to Hangouts, you'll find that you'll have less and less people on Talk that can actually see those status marks.
It happened to me. Android upgrades from my friends are making this happen since Talk is no longer offered as an app. 
 
+Bhagwad Park agreed. But adding SMS breaks the precious status for avail/away/mobile and makes it meaningless. I'm fine with that.
 
I have the new update and work it fine!!! The indicator it's great...
 
I updated today and no online status... anyone know what I'm doing wrong? or am I just missing it... I just see the name not the little icon to the right.

Edit: Nevermind... I thought I updated when I downloaded from google play but it's still 1.1.2.7788356 o.o
 
Reset your phone or download the link mega con this post
 
+Carl Bramhall It's not a free product. If a product is free, you ARE the product. They make plenty of money based on data about us. The least they could do is make our lives the most convenient out of all competitors for it.
 
+Danny Knoll III That's cliché and untrue.  Open source software is generally free in all senses.  See VLC or WordPress.org as prime examples.

The product is free and they get plenty of data. They aren't mutually exclusive.  Just because Google derives a benefit doesn't mean it's not free.  Free products are usually defined as not requiring a payment.  Paid products also garner quite a bit of data from you.  For example, even though Whatsapp charges you $1, they likely collect similar amounts of data as Google does for Hangouts. 

I think we need to move past simplistic statements that don't actually move the conversation forward.
 
GIF support on mobile hangout pleaseeeee!
 
Can we get a voice call button? A-la Skype, where it doesn't automatically open in a video call. Google Voice integration + SMS wouldn't hurt..but I know I'm reaching.
 
And yet, still no SMS messaging. Google, what the actual hell? I have an iPhone friend who says the only reason she even really stays iOS is so that she can use iMessage when she travels to other countries. Add SMS and you can win this. SMS and IM'ing in one platform available on all devices is an absolute killer. One would think it's also a no-brainer.
 
Thank god for online status... That was a major omission.
 
Without SMS support, Hangouts just sits there, collecting dust on my phone.
 
Garbage, hiding contacts one by one instesd of only showing people we specifically select to chat with? No way to hide phone number contacts? No away status for users only online or offline? Can't roll back to Talk? No thank you
 
Hangouts is great. Though I'd like to see few improvements:
1. RTL Encoding - When I write Hebrew (Or any RTL language for that matter) it looks tight on the Andorid. Yet looking at the chat log from Gmail (Web) I can see the text is LTR encoded. Could you fix that?
2. Sharing Videos, Location, Contacts, etc.. At least what we can share using WhatsApp.

Thanks.
Wes W
 
More Google Garbage.
No Latitude functions.
Can't wait to find a replacement for Gmail and more and say goodbye to this constant downgrade and discontinuance of existing products and features.
 
+Randall Sarafa Thank you for the larger dots. Much more helpful on the mobile unit. Don't need to reach for my reading glasses anymore.
 
hello everybody always be happy and think positive.
 
Any chance to get the long promised unified communication? I would love to see a failback function to SMS/MMS (in case that a user does temporary not have a data connection) and SMS/MMS option in general, so I could get rid of the SMS/MMS messaging app. Why to have two separate apps for texting people?
 
While in a conversation, I often like to make a voice call to a person (video is not always appropriate). Why can't I do this directly, without having to disable the camera manually? Also, I would love to have a failback function to do a standard phone call (if a person does temporary not have a data connection due to disabled roaming etc.).
 
Why can't I get to the persons contact card with all contact information through hangouts? So in case I want to call a person by making a standard phone call, I have to open the Android contact app and lookup my contact again. This is silly! Please, differentiate if I touch on the message or the profile picture.
 
So I can see the online status when starting a "New Hangout". But I can't see the online status in an existing hangout conversation? Hello?
 
Thank you for adding the online/offline status back! I'll finally be updating the app now.  :]
 
+Randall Sarafa what's the point in showing people who are in away status as available? need option to change status like it was in gtalk
 
#hangouts is one of the worst chat app ever
it's too complicated even for tech guys and missing a lot of features 

either they get all the features from whatsapp asap or forget about it
 
+Alex Reusch it's coming... I imagine hangouts will eventually combine the best of WhatsApp, Line, and even iMessage, Mighty Text, et al, to make the best cross-platform IM app.
...we just gotta be patient. 
 
+Ted Duffy sure you can. uninstall the updates or find a talk.apk.
 
4 months to add a green icon. Don't hold much hope on any other features being added.
 
Glad it's there. I hope HTC will add this to the phones contact list like they did it with Google Talk, so I can see who's online in my contact list too with a green indicator. I really missed that.
 
Can you please tell when/if you are going to update it on iOS too? There are several problems that make it unusable on my wife iphone 4 (it is slow to open, doesn't load conversations, lag while typing). Frank said you was working on it, so I just wanted to know if there are any updates inc soon
 
I'm sorry, but this green/grey status indicator and its implementation is really not worth it. As far as I can make out, any person who has ever used Hangouts is shown as green. It does not mean he/she is online. What's the point of the green indicator if it doesn't tell us whether the person is online/offline?! For instance, I know my mom doesn't have internet connectivity right now, yet she is coming up as green. Very very misleading.

Also, please copy 'last seen online at ...' thing from WhatsApp!
 
+James Pearson  You can make voice only calls. Just press the video icon on the hangout, switch off the video, and switch to 'headset' instead of speaker. Becomes like a normal phone call. 
 
I'm very sorry but I dont see how this is different from the previous grayed out contact pictures (when not actively viewing the conversation). What everyone wanted was the functionality you provided with gtalk, i.e. to see if someone was using their phone (hence present to read the message) and "away" i.e. not using their phone, also be able to manually set status. The only improvement I see in this version is zoom in pictures. Please explain more how the new green status icon functions.
 
+Randall Sarafa I updated talk to hangouts but it is not showing online status. It is not working. Is anyone there having same problem like me and having any solution?
 
+Ankur Gandhi The latest version might not have rolled out to you yet. It's a staged rollout. 
 
This wait is killing me! I'm also waiting for the new Gmail, the new search, and the new Google Voice app too.
 
But can you bump unwanted people from a hangout? That's one if the most common questions and frustrations I hear from folks. 
 
Will it give me new, more attractive friends?
 
This new status icon is unnecessary ...
The "name" could be green or gray, indicating the status ..
And this is also the opposite of what Google seeks to make the products, which is improved by simplifying ..
 
Thanks for this. To those who don't see the need for presence: Just use email, then. I don't want to send my contacts an instant message unless they are online and available to chat. If I want offline, delayed conversations, I will use email.
 
+Randall Sarafa With the opposite person having no Wi-Fi or data connection this app still shows them online just because they signed in to hangouts months before and did not log out..greatest invention by Google to show there active user base.. this needs to be fixed with ut most priority .
 
i accidentally hide a person. please tell me how to undo it.. thanks :)
 
+Randall Sarafa as I use hangouts more & more, I'm beginning to miss something little that means a lot when chatting with a loved one... A HUG! How about that as an addition to the emoji collection? :)
 
Well, at least you made it a LITTLE better. But until full presence indication comes back I'm sticking with Talk. Why don't you want to let people know if their contact is on their phone or PC or if they're currently active?
 
+Ashton Lafferty "agreed. But adding SMS breaks the precious status for avail/away/mobile and makes it meaningless. I'm fine with that."

No it doesn't. It would just show an SMS icon if they are not signed in and there is a phone number associated with that contact. If they are signed in it will show the right status.
 
Finally status icon, but i'll like too the voice call of talk
 
I was waiting for an update for months... but looks like it's again not good enougt to be used.
Only green or gray?
Either "reachable right now" or "not"?
What means "not reachable right now"?! Not signed in at all or off-line? Or also just away (orange in Google Talk)? Or also "do not disturb"/"not available" (red)?
Where is the orange "Away" status from Google Talk? And where is the red "not available"?
I'm disappointed once more :-(
 
+Randall Sarafa
Still not as good as Gtalk. Online status that is in all IM apps, the simplest feature and yet very much needed, still is not implemented properly. Sorting contacts is not available. Unhiding a contract - impossible.

Downgraded back to Gtalk
 
Goodbye Gtalk! I'm able to continue on without you! It was fun!
 
Online status is still not like gtalk. Uninstalled and returned to gtalk.
 
And cue continued whining about MMS. Yawn. 

For those w/o Harvard educations, you could actually see if your contacts were online before, but apparently people need a big shiny status indicator or they get confused. 
 
"Online" and available to chat are two very different things. There is still no ability to mark yourself as online, but unavailable.
 
Thank you for the hiding functionality, it was very much needed. But...
- I am scared to actually hide more people, after I discovered I cannot unhide them. Please, add an unhide option somehow.
- Feature parity with the desktop/web version is needed - let me hide (and unhide) people there, too.
Ver A.
 
Although we can now see green status but still there is no away/idle status like in gtalk. Is that so hard to recreate the same functionalities in hangout as in gtalk? Gtalk is a great product and everyone likes it. Please listen more to the users for good sake. I'm currently still using gtalk. Some comments above were right, albeit we are modern people, but somehow people still don't talk to strangers. Thanks for listening.
Ver A.
 
+Alon Gothshmidt Then they have to open their ears more and decide a better strategic approach.
 
Are you planning to add multi-account support? Many people have at least two accounts -- one for home and another one for work.

With all due respect it is not possible to change accounts during work days and monitor hangouts in both of them.

What about turning camera off by default option?

Thanks
 
Another step forward merging GV and Hangouts...
 
sms, mms integration as well as stock phone app replacement should have been there
 
How do you unhide a contact in hangouts. Hid them in error. Please advise. Also show status of on phone, on computer, idle/away not just who has hangouts. 
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