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Google Hangouts Updates on Android With Improvements, New Gmail Finally Rolls Out to Everyone

gmail update

So Google does this really annoying thing now with app updates, where it slowly rolls them out rather than posting the newest build and letting everyone go grab it. We saw it with the new Gmail once it went live on Monday, and are seeing it today with Hangouts. Gmail’s big overhaul went live two days ago, but is now just becoming available to everyone this morning. So if you didn’t download and install it manually, be sure to check your device or head into the web Google Play store and install it. 

For Hangouts, it also received an update, at least according to the Play listing for it. The update fixes audio issues during video calls and improves performance – it’s minor. But, you probably can’t download it because Google is slowly rolling it out. If you are in the lucky group, be sure to let us know how amazing the new performance is. The rest of us will sit here, annoyed.

Play Links:  Hangouts | Gmail

Cheers Dan!

  • JimBob

    I installed Hangouts+ in early May, I think Gmail app changed after that. I hated Hangouts+, so I uninstalled it and got Talk back on my Galaxy Nexus. I always had my Talk conversations saved automatically in my Gmail Chat label. They are still being saved there on my PC version of Gmail, but they are not appearing (as if they are not saved) on my Android Gmail app. There haven’t been any new Talk conversations placed in my Android Chat folder since May 6 (which may be around the time that I tried Hangouts+.) Moreover, when I go to Settings > ????.gmail.com > Manage labels, the Chat label doesn’t even show up in the list of labels. When I go to the pull-down menu to look at my labels, Chat appears in the Recent Labels and All Labels lists, but again, it is never updated with new Talk messages. Yet, things are just fine on the web version, and the Talk messages are, indeed, being saved in that Chat label. Any ideas? Thanks.

  • disqus_ceHVPnZdbd

    i got it
    nothing much different….i am using 4.1.2

  • AnnV

    I do not like the new app on my Galaxy for GMAIL. The Delete (can) is missing…how do I delete an email either before reading it or after I open it. Really irritating…tried everything I could think of to eliminate an email.
    Also…the little icons in front of each email is a waste of space in my opinion. I understand how GMAIL designers might think it looks cool and give graphic illustration of the sender, but to me it is just junk.

    • AnnV

      Okay…after more exploration I found it…now it takes three click commands instead of two.

      • Jenny Averly

        Agree on the icons – lil confusing since I mostly look for labels. Anyhoo, deleting a message is still only 2 taps. First, open up the menu > settings > archive & delete actions > 3rd option – “show archive & delete”. Now from the main screen, you only need to tap the icon (to select the message without opening it) then tap the delete button up top. Or tap to open the message and delete at top. I think most people missed this “hidden” setting. Hope that helps!

    • Paulatcovenant

      Interestingly, I think Google is trying to encourage people not to delete their old emails. There have been subtle messages in the instructions periodically saying “Never delete an email again” by giving you tons of space and making it much easier to archive a message instead of delete. They want the data for search results, and if you delete the emails, they lose them. My guess.

  • Reva

    Really frustrated with the new hangout app. Can’t see who is on and offline. New gmail is pretty,but I don’t get what all the colors mean. Nice to see labels on the screen though.

    • Steve Benson

      Come on man, this has been beaten to death.

      Color photos = online
      Grayed out photos = offline

      • Reva

        I get it, but it also made a big difference to see who was green, red and idle, at least with my friends ( the habitual idlers, you know).

        Also, I have over 1,000 chat contacts – overwhelming not to have the online people filter up.

        • Steve Benson

          Yeah, I feel your pain and hope they strike some sort of happy medium. Hangouts is decent but has a long ways to go. I get the feeling that Google has just barely given us a glimpse of what they want to do with Hangouts.

  • Tim van der Leeuw

    Well, available for “everyone” as long as in “everyone” you do not include Gingerbread users.

    My phone is stuck on Gingerbread and last time I checked, this was still the most common Android version out there.

    • Paul Sullivan

      Gingerbread market share is currently at 38%, Versions 4 -> are at more than 50% FYI.

      • Fervid Vervet

        So? Gingerbread’s still the most common version, no matter how you choose to lump the other versions together. The total for 4.x versions is a little under 60%; claiming that this is “everyone” is, effectively, claiming that 60% = 100%. You need a pretty powerful reality distortion field to make that work.

        FWIW, a search for “android gingerbread 2.3” on Amazon today gives about 5000 results. GB’s not going anywhere for a while, no matter how much Google would wish it.

        • Paul Sullivan

          Ok I didn’t say “everyone”. I don’t have a reality distortion field on.

          There are some major upgrades in the newer versions of Android. I’m sorry your phone carrier wont’ get up an update to your phone. Personally I run Cyanogenmod on my phone because I’m sick of waiting for Verizon to approve updates. I know that’s not for everyone.

          It is really unfortunate that Google hasn’t yet forced the carriers to let updates come straight from Google like Apple has, but that is the penalty for being more open.

          • Fervid Vervet

            I believe the OP was taking issue with the use of “everyone” in the original post. Personally I harbour no butthurt on this issue: my phone’s on 2.3, and 4.x updates are available for it, but so far I’ve found no reason to upgrade. New gmail isn’t really a reason for me either.

  • Dan Lehman

    Got the new Gmail. Looks great. Hangouts is kinda stuck trying to download. I think the Play Store is getting hammered with these updates.

  • I got both rollouts

  • RedXander

    I just want to “mark all as read”

  • Allan

    I think the Hangouts update fixed my notification problem of not receiving them. Wonderful!

  • Chris Quinn

    I enjoy using Hangouts. I think the update improves the performance a little bit. I hope to see a update where you can organize your chats better in the list and hopefully one day they will have a Desktop Version for Windows that is a stand alone app like talk.to has. I know about the Chrome extension but I would like to see a app with full screen functions.

  • duke69111

    Why are they going the tiered roll outs, is it to make sure there are no major bugs?

  • Michael G

    Hangouts seems a little bit smoother. It still lags my phone.

  • superchachi

    Ish. They moved the functions to the top, out of thumb’s reach? That was one of the quicker uninstalls ever.

  • SD_Scott

    Not too happy w/ Gmail update…

  • D.B. Evans

    I am curious as to how they determine when each person receives an update – is it totally random, or based on some script that schedules each person based on some mystery criteria? For me, they actually rolled out the Hangouts update to me (earlier this morning) before they made the gmail update available (within the last two hours).

  • Gianflavio

    anybody else having problems with the read receipt? when i send a message it shows as if they already read it when i know they haven’t (i tried it with my girlfriend)

    also why is there online statuses on g+ but not on mobile? ridiculous.

  • Trueblue711

    The new Gmail is beautiful. I’m so happy with the design direction Google is going in.

  • Newge

    I hope this update fixes an issue I’ve been having with Hangouts. Has anyone else suffered an issue with hangouts that were created before you were using your current phone not giving notifications? For example I switched back to Android after a 1 year detour to iOhEss. (I know, I know. Huge mistake.) I used Hangouts on the iOhEss device and have an active hangout that I was participating in on that device. After switching to my Verizon Galaxy S4 I get no notifications for that particular hangout. All others that have been created since going to my S4 do get notifications. Quite odd and I can’t find much info on this issue. I have tried leaving and being re-invited to this particular hangout, rebooting my device, uninstalling/ reinstalling Hangouts, and doing a factory wipe. No luck. This was happening before I rooted and is still happening after rooting. BTW, I’m still running stock Android as it comes on the S4

    I suppose I could start a new hangout with the participants from the problematic one but there’s fifteen of us in it and I don’t imagine they’d be happy.

    • SchwannyT

      This happens when it thinks your other devices are “inactive”. Send or catch up on your S4 and it’ll start getting the notifications and not the other devices. It’ll stay that way until all your connections are “idle” then it will start notifying all of them again. I do this on my Work computer/phone/home computer/Nexus 10 all the time and LOVE it. I don’t have to close it on all the computers so it doesn’t ding, just get one of the mobiles to be “active” and the others go quiet.

    • Bastien

      I am getting notifications on my Note 2 after update… I wasn’t before.

  • Daniel

    What about ability to view/set status and sort contacts by their status in Hangougs??! :-

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Nice way to do slide down to refresh. i’m not sure if i like the contact pictures or the placeholders. And the label adjustments are dope. Wasn’t too long of a wait for the rollout.

    Maybe the messaging app will get revamped too? or deleted. Hangouts thinks my battery is an all u can eat buffet. It needs to slim down a bit.

  • Caleb Martin

    The Hangouts update was available for me. Doesn’t seem to be any different, but it doesn’t have any performance issues on the S4 anyway.

  • kirk ngo

    I’m not getting either updates. WTF.

  • Eric Palmero

    This methodology is common practice with software distributions in a Global IT environment. Would you rather they release an app that bricks, causing fragmentation and user upset, or do timed roll outs to reduce that outcome? Personally, i’m surprised it’s taken this long, maybe someone from their IT department scored a position on the app team over there.

    • mec

      if tehy were smart, they’d open the beta app program to their applications. they can roll out to those that want to sign up… let them be the guinea pigs and say “dont be a beta tester” when it falters. then after a few days of stability, push to the masses.

      • Eric Palmero

        Can’t do that either. Beta testing only works in controlled sample sizes, especially for large use front facing products like hangouts, or apps with a small user amount (relatively). A controlled beta (like what’s done for PC games) would work however. I applaud Google finally implementing staged roll outs. It shows their commitment to better business practices as well as a better product.

  • Justtyn Hutcheson

    Google is finally using a system that they built to minimize the risk of wide-spread bugs and bandwidth usage (both of which are best practices for large-scale software deployments), so just sit back and relax. It’ll still be shiny when you get your hands on it, and the “new app” smell lasts all of 30 seconds anyways.

  • sc0rch3d

    gmail labels / categories are kinda freaking me out…SO MANY COLORS

  • Adam Truelove

    “better performance” YAY!!! Hangouts is a serious resource hog.

    • Addison Todd

      I haven’t noticed a lot of resources being used by it. What device are you on?

      • Adam Truelove

        Gnex. I realize it’s not a new phone, but there’s no reason I should see any performance issues on that phone.

        • turdbogls

          yeah, it was a little slow here and there. for the most part it was fast/smooth though.

          • Adam Truelove

            Not on the Gnex.

          • Steve Benson

            That’s because the Gnex is a tired piece of technology.

            She will always hold a special place in our hearts but it’s time to retire her and move on to something new.

          • Stefan Pietraszak

            You’re proabably being sarcastic again, but as a friendly reminder for those who are unsure: the Galaxy Nexus was released 11/2011. It’s 1.5 years old.

          • imran

            i love my GNex, it was my first smartphone, but the way its performing now, i might have to switch to a nexus 4 sooner than later.

          • imran

            working fine on my galaxy nexus. i keep my phone running in good condition. apart from sudden restarts once every couple of days my phone works fine. the only problem i had with hangout with 4 other friends was that if we all use video as well, my battery drains fast. other than that its perfect for us.

          • turdbogls

            YMMV. other than a slow start-up, it switches conversations, and scrolls super smooth for me. no complaints here.

    • Michael G

      Agreed. Once Talk turned to Hangouts my phone became a lot more laggy.

  • Addison Todd

    APK on Google Drive: http://goo.gl/DZj2r

    • Gianflavio

      thanks! i think

  • dcdttu

    The most annoying part is that, while I can’t download the damn app update, Play’s page for it shows everything about the new version as if to taunt me.

    If I can’t update it, then don’t show me the page for it, Google. It’s pretty simple.

    • Trevor

      This bugs me too

  • watchthesky

    Still can’t delete messages from the notification screen.

    • ShadrachCA

      If you go into settings under “Archive & delete actions” and select “Show delete only”, the delete option will show under the expanded notification.

      • watchthesky

        THANK YOU

        • Addison Todd

          I don’t see this. You’re referring to Hangouts, right?

  • dtraini30
    • Appreciated. Seems pretty ridiculous though, that this is how we have to update apps now.

      • turdbogls

        agreed. i see why they do it (some bug they miss in testing and send out, only goes to a couple thousand instead of millions) but i really wish google would have an option to get it first every time….kinda like their beta testing thing.

        • mec

          no reason the slow roll out cant be an opt in, via the beta structure. after a few days of stablity, push to the masses… you want it the first possible day? sign up.

          • Shawn Willden

            There may be other criteria being used to decide the rollout order. If it’s just random then your suggestion would work fine. But they may, for example, do it based on which data center hosts your account, or some other characteristic which may be chosen for good technical reasons.

        • Shawn Willden

          “a couple thousand instead of millions”… actually it’s “a couple million instead of a billion”.

          Google’s scale is mind-boggling.

          • turdbogls

            didn’t think they were up to a billion yet…it was at 900 Million activations at I/O. either way, you are still probably right. couple million instead of hundreds of millions.

      • dtraini30

        No problem! I can see why Google does this, but hey, at least we have the chance to manually update our apps!

      • Jon

        Except that you don’t. You can just wait a few days till the roll-out reaches you.

      • r0lct

        Only for the impatient. And they can just come to sites like this and update anyway.

  • Kyle Johnson

    Still not out for GAFE :/ Both to hangouts and new gmail

    • NastyEmu

      I had to go to the play store through the browser and force the install from there for my apps account. Wasn’t showing as available through the play store app.

      edit: For gmail only, hangouts update isn’t available yet for me that way.

  • Seth Merritt

    Sideloaded the hangouts apk. Didn’t notice much of an improvement on my gnex.

    • Addison Todd

      Same. Same app, I’m guessing accept for that fix for the Droid Charge.

  • mustbepbs

    Finally got the Gmail update yesterday. Sucks reading these news stories and not seeing the update for days.

    Also, I want to take this time to thank Google immensely for including the empty trash/spam option from the app. It took you a few years, Goog, but you finally managed to include a basic feature in your app.

    Well done.

    • Jon

      I thought about this hard for a moment, but I still can’t think of any reason that I would bother to care about what’s in my trash/spam folder enough to bother ever deleting what’s in there. Doesn’t that stuff disappear after a while all on it’s own?

      • mustbepbs


  • Greg

    Where is SMS and Google Voice?

    • guest56

      It’s not coming.

    • NastyEmu

      Same place they’ve always been

    • Eric Hare

      I have a suspicion its not coming as well. Google Voice has just been one giant tease that Google doesn’t want to embrace. So much potential that was wasted… This blog is comical: http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/first-steps-towards-mms-support.html … First and only steps towards MMS support.

      • Trueblue711

        It might also be that it could get very expensive for them if it became used more, given the telephone/VOIP infrastructure needed. Google has other things to devote their efforts to right now. I’d rather them not spread themselves too thin.

      • I think it comes completely down to money. I read somewhere that Google might start their own wireless network, which would mean full Voice integration 😉 lets hope!

    • Logan Kraus

      SMS is coming “soon,” so that could be a couple months, yet. I haven’t heard anything about Google Voice, though.

    • Steve Benson

      It’s coming, but it’ll only be available to 4.3 users.

      • Paul

        At first read I thought you meant 4.3 total users out of google’s user base. I was wondering what kind of a person makes up only 30% of a user, but then I realized you meant Android 4.3.

        Today has been rough… I apparently have caught the dumb.

        • Steve Benson

          Haha. After reading it back to myself it does sound kinda strange 🙂

      • white.noise

        How do you know it’ll only be available to 4.3 users?

        • Steve Benson

          I don’t, I’m being sarcastic.

    • white.noise

      Seriously. It has everything an SMS app needs: Emojis, video chat, web chtting service (hangouts for those who have it), a beautiful UI, and push notifications.