During the I/O 2016 conference, Google had fervently denied that it would be ditching Hangouts in favor of its two new chat apps. True to its words, the tech giant has now rolled out video messaging feature to Google Hangouts, which puts it in line with some of the other major chats apps. Users of Google Hangouts on Android now have the ability to record and send video messages using the app.
Considering that Android is Google’s own mobile platform, it seems strange that the video messaging feature has arrived now android with the Hangouts version 11 update. Hangouts users on iOS have had the feature since February 2014.
iOS Hangouts users were first allowed to record and send video in February 2014, with just a 10-second limit. That was increased to a full minute in March this year, having left Android users out with just updates like the ability to send stickers in Google Voice conversations. It still appears that the Mountain View California company makes better apps for the iPhone than for its own operating system. However, the new update should at least make Hangouts more equal as Google pushes it live across various stores this week.
Users need to first select the video camera icon in Hangouts to send a video message, and then record a clip from either inside the app, or upload from video saved to their device and then confirm they want to send it to whomever they like. It is pretty handy if users want to record a quick message, share a short video of the kids or just upload a funny Vine downloaded from the internet.
According to the Android Police, although users can send across video messages within a conversation, they will not be able to view them in-line on the app. A separate app will be required to do that, which is a slight oversight that should be hopefully sorted out in the later versions.
The update to Google Hangouts on Android (version 11) isn’t yet on the Google Play store, but those users who are keen can download an installer through APKMirror, as long as they have a 64-bit device.
Additionally, the search giant has also updated the iOS version to extend the maximum length of video messages from one minute to two minutes, and the ability to expel someone out of a Hangouts group.
Besides that, this version of the app removes the ability to merge SMS and Hangouts conversations in the Android version.
Hangouts can still send SMS in version 11, however, it will not allow switching between Hangouts and SMS within a single conversation thread. Earlier, users could go into the settings and enable this feature. It offered a neat little drop down in the text field to set how the message would be sent. Currently, users just have a separate thread for Hangouts, SMS, and Google Voice SMS, even if all those messages are going to the same contact.