Google adding location sharing, GIFs and SMS to Hangouts for Android

Google adding location sharing, GIFs and SMS to Hangouts for Android

Summary: Apparently everyone wants to replace SMS.

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Apparently everyone wants to replace SMS.

Facebook is trying it with its recently announced update to Messenger on Android. And according to the multitude of origin stories about Twitter floating around, the micro-blogging service was initially conceived as an SMS-killer.

Could Google+ be the one to do the trick?

The immediate answer is not over night (and well, maybe never), but the Internet giant is laying the groundwork anyway.

Arguably the strongest and most popular feature to Google+, which is still well behind the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn in active membership, is Hangouts.

(For reference, according to Google's latest figures, Google+ has approximately 300 million active users with more than 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week. There are roughly 540 million people active across Google each month total.)

Thus, it's no surprise that the video conferencing arm gets the most attention from users, press, and internal developers in Mountain View alike.

The Internet giant is gearing up to roll out a number of improvements to its social network, starting with Hangouts.

Announced on Tuesday morning, Google is adding location sharing, GIFs and SMS to the Hangouts app. Thus, users will be able to schedule Hangouts on Air and promote them in advance via a dedicated landing page.

Certainly the animated GIFs feature will immediately please some users (and then quickly forgotten by many others), but the other two are critical being that they both keep mobile users (and their data) within Google+ rather than losing them to other apps -- even just for a few seconds.

As explained by Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra in a blog post, Google+ users can send a map of the current location (vs. finding and typing an address) as well as send and receive SMS (vs. switching between apps).

The updated Google+ for Android app and video calling features are scheduled to become available in a few days. The On Air improvements won't be ready immediately but are promised to follow "over the next few weeks."

There are also a number of photo and video editing as well as lighting improvements that will be distributed this week too.

Image via Google+

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Google Apps, Web development

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4 comments
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  • Google+

    Google+ went the way of MySpace. Keep trying!
    Foreseen
    • Its still a solid up and commer.

      Its here to stay even if it doesn't become a 'facebook killer', per-se. I've never used facebook but I use google+. Yes, I got roped in automatically but its more of a general purpose service than facebook. Right now all I do is use it for auto backup of my photos, and the occasional hangout, but will slowly expand over time.
      deathjazz
  • one big elaborate messengar service

    To me, Hangouts (once called talk) is becoming a more elaborate Messanger service.

    Then when this was noted:
    (For reference, according to Google's latest figures, Google+ has approximately 300 million active users with more than 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week. There are roughly 540 million people active across Google each month total.)

    The photos being uploaded, were they intentional or part of the auto sync to Picasa that happens when a new users to android from ios isn't aware of once they transfer photos to their device? Now they are going to add video calling in a few days.

    Now its just seems like a one stop shop type thing. Does the Google+ app with all the fetures have them natively or are they dependent on some other google app/3rd party app? I don't know as I've been suspended from any google service that requires a real name of some sort. I've given them real name, not mine, and they decided to challenge everyone I've given. So I dont know. LOl!
    Free Webapps
  • Hello Reality check !

    You have had BBM, facetime and Skype replacing SMS for years, how is this any different to that stratagem ?
    Alan Smithie