As Google continues to improve Hangouts, new features are always coming down the pipe. Today Google officially unveiled the latest update to its messaging app.
The update should be rolling out to devices beginning today, and if you haven’t yet downloaded Hangouts, it’s available in the Google Play store through the source link at the bottom of this post. First and foremost, the update brings stickers to the conversations within Hangouts. As Rhett Robinson put it, “a sticker is worth a thousand words.” And now users can express themselves with penguins, pirates, koalas and more with 16 sticker packs to choose from. Robinson also notes that more are coming, so if you can’t find the perfect sticker right now, it might be coming later. Additionally, for users that make video calls, new video filters are available that range from sepia to black and white, vignette and more.
Hangouts will now let you know the last time one of your friends used the app, too, with “last seen” timestamps that will show you the last time they were around. (Robinson says this feature will actually be rolled out in waves, so if you don’t see it immediately, it’ll be added at some point down the road.) Also, confirming your phone number within the app so those with Hangouts can more simply send you a message.
One of the bigger additions, though, is the increase in intelligence on Hangouts’ side. With this update, Hangouts can now use “smart suggestions” to try and help you out in certain situations. The example provided by Robinson in the announcement, and as indicated in the image just above, when someone asks you where you are, Hangouts will actually pop up a prompt to share your location with them. No more typing out long-winded responses.
The update is rolling out over the next few hours, so be sure to let us know what you think of it after you start sending those koala stickers.