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Hangouts application for Android and Chrome is here

Google Hangouts has just gone live in the Chrome Web Store and in the Google Play Store. Hangouts is the new unified messaging service available on the web, iOS and Android and will replace the current Google Talk application.

Unfortunately, there is a glitch which makes the application appear to not be compatible with tablets. Luckily, a fix is on the way.
Here are the features of Hangouts as listed in the Google Play Store:
  • Say more with photos and emoji.
  • See when people are together in Hangouts, when they’re typing, or whether they’ve seen your message.
  • Turn any conversation into a video call with up to 10 friends.
  • Message friends anytime, even if they're not connected right now.
  • Use Hangouts on computers, Android and Apple devices.
  • Hangouts stay in sync across devices so you can start or continue them anywhere.
  • Choose from hundreds of emoji to help you make your point
  • See what you talked about in the past, including shared photos and your video call history.
  • Get notifications just once. Once you see an alert, you won’t see repeats on your computer or other Android devices.
  • View collections of photos shared from each of your Hangouts.
  • Snooze notifications at times when you’d prefer to be undisturbed by alerts.
  • Unlike Google Talk, Hangouts does not support “invisible” status.

The conversation list lets two or more people converse with text, smilies, symbols and pictures (from camera or gallery) in a standard group chat fashion. Anyone in the hangout can tap the video call button to initiate a call with everyone in the chat, which will ring them whether they're on phones, tablets or a computer. Like many other group messaging services, Hangouts supports read receipts (see who has read what) as well as typing indicators so you can see when someone's about to chime in. 
Hangouts Hangouts
You can start new hangouts from the plus button in the top right of the app, where you can then add people to the chat via name, phone number, Google+ circle or email address. If you haven't gone through and integrated your Google+ account with your contacts fully, things may get a little messy in here with duplicate contacts unfortunately. For example my contacts listing has two options for "Alex Dobie", but it isn't clear which one is tied to his Gmail address that I can actually do a Hangout with. But as time goes on there will be fewer people with this legacy problem, and this may be the motivation you need to merge together duplicate contacts.
But that's it -- this app doesn't span into integrating SMS/MMS or Google Voice messages at this time, nor does it plug in with any other services like Facebook Messenger or Skype. This will only benefit those who use Google+ and Google Talk extensively, and have friends that do the same. Aside from a few quirks with getting used to a new app, the new Hangouts app seems to provide a solid service for those who are all-in with Google and don't mind staying in that ecosystem. For everyone else that was hoping for a unified messaging platform to rule them all, we'll have to keep on waiting.
Are you as excited as we are about Hangouts? Let us know in the comments. For Chrome : Hangouts for Google Chrome
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