Today, Google announced a new version of Hangouts, which is actually two apps, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. Both are meant for business-users, but that doesn't mean the old Hangouts is totally going away. Yet.
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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.
Windows/Mac/Linux: If you use a lot of different messenger apps to keep in contact with people, say, Slack for work, Facebook Messenger for friends, WhatsApp for people overseas and Steam for your gaming buddies, you know how hard it is to keep track of all those. Franz stuffs them all into one app.
Android: Google's awesome voice commands have been able to send text messages for a while. With a recent update, however, you can finally do the same with Hangouts instant messages.
Good news for Google Apps for Business users: Google's well-regarded Hangouts video chat service no longer requires you to have a Google+ profile, making it a more viable option for business users.
If you haven't noticed, Google is making a serious play to make sure everyone signs up for and uses Google+. Whether it's to comment on YouTube, post photos, or even share a Google Map or driving directions with someone else, you need to go through Google+. Not all is lost, though! Let's look at where you can escape the clutches of Google+, and where you have no choice but to submit.
Android: We love our widgets, but Google has yet to provide one for its messaging centrepiece app, Hangouts. Fortunately, a third-party app is on the case.
Google Hangouts are very handy for video chat, but much of the development has been aimed at individual users. One recent enhancement is much more firmly centred on corporate use: you can now look up names from the Global Address List to start a hangout.
As part of MoneySmart Week, Lifehacker editor Angus Kidman is taking part in a Google Hangout today sharing money-saving tips. It's hosted by our friends from Finder.com.au (who contribute our monthly Ratehacker column). Check it out live at 1430 AEST today, or catch the archived discussion afterwards.