Google Launches Hangouts, A New Cross-Platform IM System for iOS, Android & Web [Updates]

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Google I/O has brought a flurry of news from the search giant including the announcement of a new cross-platform messaging service called Hangouts. Integrating with a fresh-looking Google+, the new application for iPhone and Android works seamlessly with the Web version of the messaging app found in Google+ to connect users in real-time.

The platform is billed as a replacement for Google Talk and Voice, allowing one-on-one and group chats via text, along with media messaging and video calling. For the moment the service only works on Apple and Google’s mobile platforms and via a Web browser, either by logging in to Google+ and clicking on Hangouts or by downloading the Chrome extension.

The service is aimed at creating long-standing “conversations that last” according to Google, so chats are always kept up to date across devices, with chat histories stored unless you specify otherwise. That means you’ll have to turn off logging for each and every conversation you want to take off the record, as these logs are always enabled by default.

This launch sees Hangouts detach itself somewhat from Google+, the company’s social layer, though users will still need a Google+ enabled account. The new Hangouts has its own standalone apps and icon, but still relies on Google+ to connect with friends in circles and for use on a desktop PC.

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The service joins an already busy marketplace for cross-platform messaging clients, with iOS devices connected for free over iMessage, Facebook chat more useful than ever thanks to “chat heads” and WhatsApp messenger continuing its domination of the SMS-replacements that bridge Android and iOS users.

Download: Google Hangouts for iPhone / Google Hangouts for Android / Google Hangouts for Chrome

Have you used the new service? Do you plan to?

Source: Official Google Blog

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