Hangouts 4.0 for Android brings Material Design, speedier messaging

The update supports MMS for Google Voice users and better integrates with Android Wear smartwatches.

hangouts android
Credit: Derek Walter

Google has finally finished up a Material Design overhaul of Hangouts. The 4.0 update vastly improves the interface, adds more functionality to the floating action button, and more deeply integrates the service with Android Wear.

Ironically, a 4.0 update with a similar redesign for Google’s instant messaging app already rolled out to iOS several weeks ago, which which might have made you question if your loyalty to Android was misplaced. 

hangouts android 4.0 Official Google Blog

Android 4.0 incorporates many Material Design elements and gets stronger ties to Android Wear.

But as we suspected, it was because Google had more to work on with the Android edition, such as the ability to send MMS messages with your Hangouts number and dictate a Hangouts message with your voice on Android Wear.

The Google blog post that announced the update also highlighted a redesign for images, attachments, stickers, and sharing your location. The new floating compose button also follows Google’s Material Design aesthetic. When you press it, the button pops out with your most recent contacts and several different ways to communicate (pictured).

hangouts 4.0

Plenty of options fly out from the new Hangouts compose button.

Google says the Hangouts team has been “obsessively fixing bugs” in order to make the app more responsive. The update is slowly rolling out to the Play Store, or you can grab it now from APK Mirror.

The impact on you: This makes Hangouts a more viable option as an all-in-one messaging solution on Android. Too long it has lagged behind while other Google apps got the Material Design refresh, including the stock texting app Messenger. Hangouts also wasn’t very good with SMS and MMS messages, which meant you needed to use your stock texting app or a third-party solution for SMS and MMS. 

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