Google's history with messaging services has been a mess. And just when it seemed it was kind of getting its act together, the search giant has once again invited Mr Cock-Up to visit and make life more confusing for users. Hangouts for consumers is disappearing and there doesn't seem to be a clear plan for what's next. It's like the company didn't learn anything from the time it killed Google Reader.
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Last week, Apple rolled back one of the key FaceTime features that was supposed to drop with iOS 12 and macOS Mojave this spring: group video chat. The feature, which would let you and up to 31 friends not-quite-make-eye-contact through their phones and laptops, was removed from the beta versions of each OS last week, and will now reportedly launch at a later date.
Google recently changed the interface of the Hangouts extension for Chrome that makes it look a little more like its Android and iOS equivalents. It's a nice update for some people, but others preferred the older style of floating windows. Here's how to get the old interface back.
Google has released a video chatting app called Duo to rival Apple FaceTime. But unlike the case of Instagram ripping off Snapchat, Duo isn't just a carbon copy of FaceTime. Here's how Google has set Duo apart from Apple's popular iOS video calling feature, for better or for worse.
Android: Previously mentioned hands-free driving app Drivemode has a lot of great features, but it just added a great one -- the ability to respond to messages in almost any texting app with your voice. SMS is included, but so is Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Gmail.
Google Hangouts has been available for almost three years now, and while it still has a few minor issues, it's still a slick and powerful messaging platform that works almost anywhere. Dig a little deeper into the Google Hangouts app, and you'll find a bunch of features you might not yet have come across, from secret codes to floating chat heads -- here are our favourites.