Google Hangouts Makes Big Changes, Standalone App Now Available

With the new Google CEO in place, Larry Page is leaving the big decisions to Sundar Pichai. This year, Sundar Pichai rolled out a big update on one of Google’s products, the Google Hangouts.

Google Hangouts is a Skype alternative. It has chat features, video conferencing and basic call features. It also have other meeting options that people can navigate through. Google Hangouts also has the capability to add third party apps.

Over the past years, Google Hangouts has competed with Skype and other video conferencing tools. Nonetheless, it has come up as one of the top tools online. It has been used by many in doing online interviews.

Though Google Hangouts is a very convenient tool, it has not always been friendly in terms of providing seamless call connection to its users. That is why Google is rolling out an updated feature of the Google Hangouts.

The new Google Hangouts gives the users the capability to conduct calls and video conferences by skipping Google. They can use the Hangouts app on Android and have direct audio and video chats without the need to use the Google servers.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
Google calls this “peer-to-peer” calling in Hangouts. As noted on their support page, this connection type would help users increase the quality of the call. However, users’ IP addresses will be revealed.

To improve audio and video quality, Hangouts calls use a direct peer-to-peer connection when possible. This allows Hangouts to more efficiently route your call directly to the person you’re talking to, rather than connecting the call through one of Google’s servers.

There are no specifics yet on the criteria for this upgrade, but users of Hangouts Android can expect to use the upgrade immediately. There might be slight changes that will not be too evident, but this process will make VoIP chats a lot clearer.

Google is not releasing the update to everyone yet, but some Reddit users have already reported receiving a notification from Google. The update reads, “Hangouts will improve quality for future calls by routing audio and video over a direct, peer-to-peer connection, when possible.”

Though others see this as a big improvement from Google, some still think it is not enough. Other users complained about the unclear lines when using Google Voice. Google Voice in America can be used for calling out to U.S. numbers.

However, people are still hopeful of the Google Hangouts improvement.

“Bottom line for peer-to-peer connected calls would be lower latency, which is always a good thing. This is literally cutting out the middle man,” wrote a Seen_The_Elephant user.

Hangouts Android vs Hangouts 7.0

It was just a couple weeks ago when Google rolled out the new Google Hangouts 7.0 which is applicable to both Google Hangout desktop and Android users.

According to Tech Times, the upgrade has improved features and quick replies notification feature. The upgrade also has an effect on the Android version since the users will now be able to “send and receive both Hangouts and text messages (SMS/MMS) and switch easily between message types,” according to Google.

With the new update on the messaging feature for Google Hangouts Android and the upgrade on the P2P connection for Hangouts call, the tools is getting more and more effective. The complete list of the changelog are as follows:

  • Connect a Google Voice account for SMS, voicemail and phone number integration.
  • Express more with stickers, emoji, photos, maps and animated GIFs.
  • Include all contacts with group chats for up to 100 people.
  • Call any phone number in the world. All calls to other Hangouts users are free.
  • Turn any conversation into a free group video call. Up to 10 contacts are allowed.
  • Message online and offline contacts anytime.
  • Keep in touch with friends and contacts across the Web, iOS and Android.
  • Sync chats across all devices.

For users who would like to manually download the upgrade, they can download it from APKMirror.

[Image credited to Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]