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Google just announced a slew of “visible” improvements to Google Hangouts in Gmail. Little touches like a green availability indicator, a large set of emoji, message snippets, and a better friend search come together in what Google calls “the new Hangouts”.

The first thing you should see when you click to try the new Hangouts in Gmail are tiny green bubbles next to the names of your contacts. They show which of your friends are online and available for a chat. A message snippet below the name is a cue to the last conversation you probably had one to one or as a group.

Google Hangouts Status

Take off from there. But then if you are not in the mood, hit the tiny dropdown arrow next to your name and share your status. The best way – 80 emoji icons. Choose one to express yourself. The variety should be enough to show your friends the range of moods you are going through on a good or a bad day.

Google Hangouts Emoji

The search feature is now much neater. This helps because the small amount of screen real-estate next to the email threads isn’t quite enough to display your long list of friends. With a single click you can locate them and see if they are active. You can also use it to find others who are not in your immediate chat list but are on Hangouts.

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The status indicator is a welcome inclusion and most of us missed this erstwhile feature of Google Talk. There still isn’t a feature to set yourself as “invisible” or “away”, so that could be an irritant for many. You can of course, sign out of Hangouts.

Are the changes helpful for the way you communicate with chat? Would you have preferred a simpler version?

Source: Google+

  1. Linda R
    May 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Unfortunately most of my friends are still stuck in Facebook land.

    • Saikat B
      May 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      They won't leave that land in a hurry. But the Hangouts feature is a standout.

  2. Abir
    May 14, 2014 at 5:59 am

    But in Hangouts there is no sorting feature to sort out the peoples who are online. That is probably the most requested feature on hangouts. Hope they will bring it soon.

    • Saikat B
      May 14, 2014 at 6:40 am

      Personally, I find it too cluttered. I would much rather have a simple list of names. But let's see how it ultimately turns out because Google is planning a completely revamped interface for Gmail according to some reports.

  3. CJ
    May 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    There still isn't a feature to set yourself as “invisible” or “away”, so that could be an irritant for many. You can of course, sign out of Hangouts.

    Or you can just snooze notifications....

    • Saikat B
      May 13, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Yes. That's also an option. The snooze notifications feature is somewhat of an alternative to an "invisible" login, which Hangouts doesn't support yet.

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