Google brings Hangouts messaging application to life

Google IO
Talk in whole new ways

Google wants people to talk to one another no matter where they are or what platform they're using thanks to its new Hangouts messaging system for Google+.

Hangouts, announced at Google IO, was the replacement name that we confirmed for "Babel" and now is very real. And speaking of replacements, Google plans for Hangouts to take over Google Talk.

App users will be able to start live group video conversations with up to 10 friends in what Google is calling a stand-alone version of Hangouts that combines text, photos and live video.

Users can take a conversation from device to device, and those messages will appear in a list format. All convos will be stored in the cloud, with users able to plug into conversations anytime, even if they aren't connected.

Here's a rather sentimental Hangouts explainer video that at least relays the message the service works across devices:

Hang loose

The Android version of the app makes a point to note that Hangouts replaces Talk, so be warned if you want to download the app yet like the older chat service.

Google hangouts

Users can insert photos and videos into the app, and provides cross-platform support on the web as well, and emoji are certainly part of the mix.

A Hangouts history allows users to swipe back to older conversations, though this feature can be turned off.

The rumored "one time" notification is also a part of Hangouts, meaning once users see a notification on one device, it will clear from other devices and computers (though Google curiously specified this will work for Android devices with no mention of other platforms).

Hangouts will be available starting today for Android, iOS and Chrome.

Though the Android Hangouts app is available right now, SlashGear discovered there's apparently a FaceTime-like block on AT&T handsets preventing the video chat from playing. We'll update when we have more information as to whether this is a glitch or a permanent reality.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.