Google adds more privacy controls to its Hangouts app

The update gives you more control over how people can reach you through Google's instant messaging service.

hangouts android
Credit: Derek Walter

Google has snuck some improved privacy options into its Hangouts app. With the new choices you can specify if someone who has your phone number or email address can send you a Hangouts message, an invite, or nothing at all.

Googler Jordanna Chord posted a few details about the update to Google+. To check out what’s new, go to Settings > yourname@gmail.com > and look for Customize invites under the new How others get in touch with you heading.

hangouts invites

Customize who can contact you with the new Hangouts options.

You can then customize how available you wish to be to different groups or your Google+ circles. The new features should be live without the need for an Android app update.

The impact on you: This is a useful security feature that can keep someone from pestering you. It’s also another way that over-the-top messaging services exert more control over messaging than SMS. However, the catch is that Hangouts is just one of many different services people use, so adjusting these features may have limited appeal if you don’t communicate with many people over Hangouts.

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