If you’re using Google’s suite of online services and the apps that accompany them, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d get the best experience on a new, high-end Android phone like the LG G4 or Samsung Galaxy S6. That’s often true, but not always — and sometimes, like right now, you’d be better off with an iPhone.
The app in question is Hangouts, and it has had a bit of a difficult history in its past two years of life. It’s still the best way to unify Google Chat and SMS and calls on an Android phone, but it has its failings. You can’t search for a friend’s phone number or begin an SMS without your phone searching the public contact details of every Google+ user, for one.
Hangouts has just been updated to version 4.0 on iOS, and with that comes a new interface makeover with lashings of Material Design, the ability to select and send multiple attachments in a single Google Chat message — useful features as well as a new, pretty face. Google’s version of the app for Android isn’t out yet, though — you’ll have to “stay tuned” to find out when it’ll be released.
It’s really odd for Google to launch a Hangouts update on iOS first rather than its own flagship operating system. It’s not a huge deal, and it certainly points to Google being a holistic apps-and-services maker rather than an Android-first company, but some Android faithful — especially those that have used Hangouts since it burst onto the scene in May of 2013 — are going to be a little annoyed.
Was it just a quirk of two development teams racing each other? Is it because the Android version will have new and unique features that require more time and development and testing? Who knows. Apparently the Android update is “coming soon”, so stay tuned. [Google+]