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Hangouts for Android Adds Video Messages, Improves Invites

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Jul 15, 2016, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Google updated its Hangouts app for Android devices this week with a handful of new features. First and foremost, the app now allows Android owners to record and share video messages — a feature that's been in the iOS version of Hangouts for two years. Second, the app does away with merged SMS and Hangouts conversations. Moving forward, SMS messages and Hangouts will appear in separate threads even when they come from the same contact. Google says merger convos often led to confusion and thus weren't widely used. Third, Hangouts makes it possible to invite anyone to join a group chat by sharing a unique link. Via the group's options page, select the "enable joining by link" function to make it work. Last, Hangouts are more discoverable via on-device search for the group name or participant name. Google Hangouts for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.

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