When Google created the standalone app for Google+ Hangouts, it received mixed reviews. Conceptually, it is fantastic. Rather than bury text and video communication within the Google+ app, it’s far easier to access that functionality when it’s separate, particularly since it’s the kind of activity you’d want to get at quickly. But it wasn’t without its flaws. It’s strange to use at first, particularly when it comes to setting who can start a hangout with you, and notifications seemed to be amiss.
There’s now an update for the app that attempts to address some of these and other issues. According to the update, the app now:
- Supports sending and clicking on links
- Supports inviting friends to Hangouts via SMS (text messaging)
- Includes in-app sounds when a message is received
- Improved the badge count behavior
- Has addressed network connection bar “weirdness”
- Supports iOS 6.0
And assorted other bug fixes within version 1.1.1.
Have you tried using the mobile Hangouts app yet? I’ve been using it more and more now that other people are using the desktop Hangouts for instant messaging. I have found it immensely convenient to be able to have a conversation on the desktop in the afternoon, and continue that conversation remotely in the evening, with full history right there on my iPhone, just like iMessage did for my SMS messaging.
Businesses should be considering how they can incorporate the Google+ communication tools into their systems. Google+ Hangouts, both Video and Text, can be fantastic tools for customer communication, including customer service and support, education and evaluation, sales and training. Particularly video chats, as Google continues to develop the Hangouts tool and now includes features like desktop sharing and more.
Definitely grab the update, and if you haven’t yet tried out Hangouts, give it a spin!