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Google Hits Refresh Button on Hangouts for Android

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Aug 10, 2015, 10:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today pushed out a significant update to its Hangouts messaging application for Android devices that puts it inline with the iOS app. Google overhauled Hangouts' visual appearance with material design, and improved how the app feels thanks to more fluid transitions, and better touch response. Major actions, such as composing new messages, have been simplified with redesigned buttons. Google streamlined the contact list and made it quicker to attach emoji, GIFs, location details, and multiple photos to messages. Google says it cleaned up lots of bugs, too, to improve the app's reliability and speed, which has the side benefit of reducing battery consumption. Google also updated the behavior of the Hangouts Dialer with an outbound caller ID. It added support for Google Voice functions, such as support for group MMS messages. The new Hangouts interacts better with Android Wear, which lets people send messages from their wearable via voice commands. Last, the app regains the ability to set custom status/away messages. The new Hangouts app starts rolling out to Android users today, and is available in the Play Store.

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