Forget Update Wednesdays, Monday morning is apparently where it is at. Google Hangouts 4.0 for Android is now official and is rolling out from today. The new update brings several enhancements to the table, including a more responsive redesign that fully embraces material design. The new app features a compose button that makes it easier than ever to start group or individual conversations, and you’ll find the entire experience is also faster and more battery life friendly than ever before.
Overall design and responsiveness are the biggest perks in Hangouts 4.0, though Google is also adding group MMS using Google Voice, better Android Wear integration, and new Outbound Caller ID in the Hangouts Dialer.
Here’s the full list of key changes, for those curious:
- Hangouts is sleeker. Now updated with material design, Hangouts has a new look and feel: items respond to your touch in more intuitive ways and transitions between tasks are more fluid.
- Hangouts is simpler. The new Compose button makes it easier for you to start a new group or conversation. Our streamlined contacts list helps you find the right person quickly. And attachments have been revamped and simplified, so sharing—of emoji, GIFs, your location, even multiple photos at once—is a snap.
- Hangouts is faster. Whether you’re sending a quick message or video chatting with family, you don’t want hold-ups. We’ve been obsessively fixing bugs and speeding up message delivery to make Hangouts faster and more reliable. Bonus: less battery consumption.
- Make affordable calls from the Hangouts Dialer, now with Outbound Caller ID (so your friends won’t get any more calls from the great “Unknown”).
- Receive and reply to group MMS messages in Hangouts using Google Voice.
- Use Hangouts on Android Wear when you really have an eye on the time (just say, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message,” into your watch).
- And if you’re not around but want friends to know what’s on your mind? Custom status messages are back.
At the moment, we don’t quite have an APK, though we’ll try to update this post with a link if and when that surfaces. Anyone get their hands on Hangouts 4.0 yet? If so, what do you think so far?