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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” Chat Heads & Stickers - Check Out The New Features on Facebook Messenger [Weekly Facebook Tips] Chat Heads & Stickers - Check Out The New Features on Facebook Messenger [Weekly Facebook Tips] Have you already noticed the latest features of Facebook chat on iOS and Facebook Messenger on Android? Prior to the release of Facebook Home, Facebook's chat app received an update which included Chat Heads and... Read More and WhatsApp messenger Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed A moment of introspection, please: What do you do more often - call people using your phone, or text them? I would bet it's the latter. For many people, texting is more convenient than calling.... Read More 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

  1. null
    May 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Uh oh Gtalk has been my go to for years now, but they are really backing themselves into a corner here.

  2. Yannis Vatis
    May 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Whatsapp, WeChat, Line, iMessages, Hangouts...It's the chat platform issue all over again. I think it's high time someone made an all-in-one app for these, like Trillian.

  3. David Moreira
    May 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Seems like another not-very-useful service that will die soon.

  4. Scott M
    May 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I'll use BBM when its available.I really don't need this.

  5. Nevzat A
    May 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I liked it, I don't wait for BBM or any other service now, one service to rule all : Google Hangouts!

  6. techguyknows
    May 18, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Hangouts are great. Now on Mobile? Even better.

  7. Khai
    May 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    and why do we need this? it's not a replacement for talk. it's exactly the same.

    oh and you get a huge ugly orange bar taking up screen estate if you dare to mute a conversation... and privacy? whats that? if you don't want to talk to someone, you can't use invisible anymore. it's not supported.

    oh and Talk has a standalone program for the PC...ah no, hangouts requires chrome. and there is *still* no integration with G+ Messenger.

    halfbaked and halfdone and foisted on us all.

    • sixstrings
      May 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      I agree Khai : personally I don't need this trash on my phone or anywhere else.
      It updated automaticaly without any permission.
      Apparently (and sadly) privacy isn't an issue for some companies anymore :-(

    • Khai
      May 19, 2013 at 8:37 am

      WHOA!
      major problem.

      it can't send files. what?? I mean I can send on Skype, Yahoo, the old Talk, etc.

      this is a major function guys! looks like me and my work colleagues are moving to Skype ....

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