Nick Fox, Google’s VP of communication, during early part of this year, announced the company’s intention about Google Hangout. He indicated to gear more towards enterprise market where it had done much better. Unfortunately, a couple of updates launched after that does not seem to be in that direction. It has not become more relevant for the workplace needs. The changes done with v14, that improves various aspects of group chats.
New app shortcuts
If you have already Android 7.1 running in your phone, or if you’re using third-party launchers having static app shortcuts, you can skip one of three modes of communication being offered in Hangouts. These shortcuts are: chat, video call, and voice call.
This list was widely expected by experts as they were visible in a teardown of Hangouts v13, however, shortcuts were disabled until v14. It has also been pointed out that Hangouts v14 has no keyboard support. I had to retract after spending two versions like /dealwithit and /flowerbeam.
According to sources, these are the unofficial changes:
- App shortcuts (Android 7.1+)
- New workflow for group chats settings
- Reorganization of chat menu commands and settings
It is to be noted that Group chat feature was already supported in Google Talk. When the Material redesign was launched, it came with a floating action button to begin a new group chat.
The approach to begging a group chat in v14 has been replaced. You now need to hit just ‘New Conversation’ instead of ‘New group’ button. Just tap on it and the top search row will animate. Everything has been moved over to Options screen, including toggle for history and sound settings.
The APK has been signed by Google and the cryptographic signature ensures the file is safe to install. To download, click here.