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Google Hangouts For iOS 7 & iPad Update: App Features Two Panes, Picture-In-Picture, and Stickers

First Posted: Feb 28, 2014 03:19 PM EST
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If users of the Google Hangouts app for iOS have noticed that it looks familiar now when compared to other mainstream messaging apps, that is because it got a complete facelift on Thursday. The new iOS app now features tabs along the bottom of the screen with categories such as Hangouts, Favorites, and Contacts, making it more similar to other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

The new version of Hangouts also added several features that already existed in other messaging apps, such as the ability to send videos, stickers, or your location within a conversation, a feature which was already available for Android users. Hangouts has always and still does support video calls and sending photos.

The new app also got optimized for iPad and now includes two panes and picture in picture calling, allowing users to chat on one side of the screen while scrolling through contacts or other Hangouts on the other side. The old version of Hangouts for iPad had only one screen and none of the new tabs along the bottom. Google had previously relaxed Android settings to enable users to replace the central SMS system with Hangouts and now it is doing the same by rolling out the same features for iOS users as well.

The new update for the iOS version of Google Hangouts contains many emoticon-like stickers as well as Vine-like short video messages, which users can send to your friends instead of photos. Users can record videos up to 10 seconds long and send them to friends, after which they will automatically play in a loop within the chat.

TNW wrote that "We previously noted given the importance of messaging services in the mobile ecosystem now, considering the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, Google could consider super-charging its Hangouts app. This could include tighter synergies between its mobile apps and Hangouts, or the addition of games, stickers and other services that are proving popular in Asia with the likes of Line and WeChat."

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