Google+ Hangouts - Google's Unified Messaging

Google has released there new product which will be rolling out over the next few days to all Android 2.3+ devices. This addition has had a lot of hype and has a lot of good changes and qualities about it.

Basically, this new move brings all of Google's different chat methods into one unified system. So, now you can get the new extentions for Chrome, Gmail, Google+ or phone apps, and they all works seamlessly together for chat, voice or video communications.

The best feature about the new system is the notifications. Once read on one device, it is taken away as a notification on your other devices, so you don't have to disregard messages you've already read somewhere else. This is something that has bothered me for years and am glad to see a solution, that in my short testing, works very well.

The Chrome extension is very interesting. It runs and give a pop-up window on messages, which stays persistent across tabs. This is a great improvement over Gmail built in chat, which will be very useful for Chromebooks, which are becoming very popular.

The new system has a clean indicator, showing up to what point the other person as viewed and since a hangout can consist of up to 10 people, this could be very useful.

Now, many people are complaining that no SMS integration is implemented but I think we will be seeing this coming very soon. In reviewing the permissions for the new Android app, it shows that it needs permission to read, receive and send SMS messages. This heavily points to integration with SMS to deliver the message by SMS if they are not available. This would then put Google's new product ahead of Apple's iMessage for two reasons, the wider range of devices supported as well as only seeing notifications once.

Google has released what will be a great product, once it is fully implemented putting the ball into Apple's court.

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