Google’s Hangouts app now has its own dedicated website: hangouts.google.com. Only the address has changed; the rest of the features are the same as before, except for a few minor differences, such as an expanded contact list and randomly selected wallpaper.
More ease for users
A standalone chat app will come in handy if a user want to access only their Hangouts conversations without risking someone overseeing their emails or Google+ account or when a user wants to have a simple chat with friends without the clutter of email and social media.
With Hangouts.google.com, only a button is needed to initiate a conversation. Previously, a Chrome extension, a Chrome desktop app or Google’s Gmail or Google+ were the only official way to access the chat app on PCs. This latest Web app feature connects to Chrome and to mobile apps to support Hangouts on all platforms.
“From our new site you’ll be able to take advantage of the best of Hangouts in the browser, along with an inspiring image to get you through the day,” Google said in a blog post.
Hangouts now has three big buttons to start each of its three key features— instant messaging, voice calls, and video chats — making it easier for users who aren’t always inside Gmail.
For “Video Call,” users just need to press the button, after which a popup appears seeking permission to access their webcam. On pushing the “Message” button, the familiar chat window opens. “Phone Call” will show the contacts list, which will be displayed on a white panel above. Lastly, the hamburger button links to Hangouts’ listing on Google Play, iTunes and Chrome.
Google going Facebook’s way
Google has been focusing on Hangouts for the last few months. The Internet firm also updated the app for iOS and Android recently, bringing it more in line with Google’s Material Design style, and making it more user-friendly.
Similar to what Facebook is doing with Messenger, Google is also working to reform Hangouts into a user-friendly app which can even be used by a casual Google user.