New Hangouts Chrome App With Floating, Bubbly Interface Arrives – For Windows and Chrome OS

Google released what appears to be a really attractive new Hangouts app for Windows and Chrome OS this morning. Sorry Mac OS X users, you got left out this time.

It floats your conversations to the side of your desktop in bubbles, sort of like Facebook’s Chat Heads, keeping them out of the way, but also easily accessible. You will have easy access to your full contact list or currently running conversations with notifications and syncing across all platforms. The app even has full video and voice calling features, all of which is available from your desktop.

Looks neat – wish I could test it myself. Have fun, Windows and Chrome OS users!  (more…)

Tuesday Poll: SMS in Hangouts or Separate SMS App?

Google introduced SMS to Hangouts back in November of last year, a move that seemed to pave the way for users to be able to specify a default SMS app in Android 4.4 and give us the option to use a single app for all messaging. For someone like me, who rarely sends text messages because I have fully adopted Hangouts messaging instead, the integration of SMS into Hangouts has been beyond helpful. Gone are the days that I need to manage conversations in multiple apps. I can now carry on the few text message (SMS) conversations I have going in Hangouts, right next to my Hangouts conversations.

But after talking with friends and family who were somewhat forced into using Hangouts as their default SMS over the last year, whether that happened through an update or as an out-of-the-box experience, I get the feeling that not everyone is excited as I am about the integration. For example, a friend of my wife’s missed a half-dozen Hangouts messages that my wife sent her the other day because she said she “didn’t like Hangouts and turned it off.” Why that is, I do not know. But she isn’t the only one.

So I’m curious – are you using Hangouts as your all-in-one messaging platform with SMS integration or are you using a separate SMS app? If you are using a separate SMS app, which one and why?

Do you use SMS in Hangouts or Separate SMS App?

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Tip: Send SMS and MMS in Gmail or the Chrome Hangouts Extension Using Your Google Voice Number

With the Google Voice and Hangouts merger in full swing (again), most of you who use a combination of the service are now noticing an added benefit – SMS and MMS through both Gmail and the Chrome extension for Hangouts. If you have a Google Voice number that has now been associated with Hangouts, you can choose to send an SMS to contacts, assuming you have attached a number to their contact information.  (more…)

Don’t Stress if You Didn’t Get Asked to Merge Hangouts and Google Voice

Yesterday, we talked a lot about the new Hangouts update that added in the ability to make voice calls. We also talked even more about how the service had finally merged with Google Voice. At least we thought it had.

The night before the Hangouts update arrived, a number of users (us included) received a message in Hangouts and Google Voice, asking us to merge our experiences together. So, we did. Voicemails started arriving in Hangouts, as did our texting experience with a Google Voice number, along with semi-MMS support. It was a glorious time.  (more…)

How to: Setup Google Voice Voicemails in Hangouts

This morning’s Hangouts update on Android finally began the process of merging Hangouts with Google Voice, something Voice users have been waiting well over a year for. We know that not everyone has seen the prompt to initiate the merge process, but for those who have (and those who will soon), we wanted to make sure you got everything setup correctly after the fact. Since you likely still have Google Voice installed (you may not be able to uninstall it all yet), there are a couple of boxes here and there that need to be checked or unchecked to get this whole situation in order.

Once you have merged, the following should help you get Hangouts working properly with your voicemails from Google Voice(more…)

MMS Now a Part of Google Voice…Hangouts…Sort Of

Now that Google Voice and Hangouts have merged, we are starting to dive in and see how things have changed and if new features have been added. The first thing we tested was sending a text through Hangouts using our Google Voice number. After that went through just fine, it was time to see how MMS messages work. For those new, Google Voice has never really built-in MMS (multimedia messages) capabilities, outside of a carrier partnership here or there that allowed them to arrive as emails. In today’s update, though, MMS is fully working, though it is still a bit different than a normal MMS message.  (more…)