Three weeks after releasing a preview of the update, Google’s messaging app Hangouts 4.0 was silently rolled out. The upgrade is currently available for the iOS but not for Android, which is coming soon.
The upgrade addresses several user complaints by including bug fixes and performance improvements. More importantly, several relevant changes were added to the design and layout to make the interface easier to interact with even in situations where users have to move around a lot.
Users can see clearer text as the sender bubble is highlighted with a darker shade of green against white text compared to the previous version, making it easier on the eyes and perfect for scrolling through long conversations while on the go. The loading screen loses all the tabs for a simpler and leaner layout while a floating action button includes new SMS, video calls, speed dials, new conversation and new groups.
The drop down menu has been replaced by a navigation panel while a mini camera view finder can be seen even while typing text into your messages.
While managing conversations, the trash icon is no longer there. Users are notified about certain muted conversations in a new way and a status option lets users set a particular status that may be seen by groups such as family and friends. A user’s Google avatar no longer appears in chat windows and single chat messages no longer include time stamps. By long-pressing another user’s avatar, messaging details appear for reference.
The new attachment user interface provides quick access to photo attachments, buttons, emojis and stickers. This makes attaching files while moving around easier as the layout includes its own toolbar instead of simply being hidden behind the paperclip button. Instead of opening a new window for attachment options, a button can be found right within the keyboard, which also holds a viewfinder with the option of selecting multiple photos at once.
The Hangouts 4.0 update is available on the App Store as a free download for iPad, iPhone and iPad Touch running iOS 7.0 or later versions.