Google Gives Hangouts A Boost With Android App Redesign

Could a redesign of the Google Hangouts app for Android give the platform a boost in use from brands? The latest version, available in Google Play, offers more than a visual update. It supports faster search, better performance and new messaging features, per the company's announcement Monday.

A Compose button claims to make it easier to start a new group or conversation. The contacts list has also been streamlined to make it easier to find a specific person to message.

The Hangouts Dialer now offers Outbound Caller ID. The platform allows users to receive and reply to group MMS messages in Hangouts using Google Voice. The revision offers full support for Android Wear, so users have access to voice search as well as link messages with wearables.

The update appears to move Google down a similar road as Meerkat and Periscope, but provides a more secure environment for live streaming sessions, access to Google's voice assistant, and a direct connection with Android wear.

Robin Green, a software developer and former Quora administrator, explains in a post earlier this year the difference between Meerkat and Google Hangouts. He writes in a post that Meerkat works only on iOS devices, whereas Google Hangout works on pretty much any device are moderated and invite only. While none of these features are available on Meerkat, users can watch the videos without the app. They are only required to have the app when recording or streaming live-broadcast videos

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