Monday Poll: Text Message or Instant Messaging App?

Two years ago, when we asked readers which mode of communication they used the most – traditional text messaging vs. instant messaging – I was shocked to see that the majority of users were still predominantly using old school text messaging. There are so many good instant messaging services out there that are not only free, but that offer tremendous benefits over text messaging. For example, they don’t compress and shrink the hell out of the photos you send or receive. They also let you participate in legitimate group conversations, share information in real time, etc. But for some reason, in 2012, people were still defaulting back to standard text messaging.

So now that we are over half-way through 2014, it’s time to see where we stand. Are you still sending old school text messages or are you sending instant messages?

Text Message or Instant Messaging Service?

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YouTube, Android Device Manager, and Google+ Receive Minor Updates

Over the last couple of days, Google issued updates to YouTube, Android Device Manager, and Google+. In tow with the new versions are little more than minor usability improvements and minor stylistic enhancements. Complete design transformations are probably a ways off – closer to Android L’s finalization, most likely – and there aren’t any overt signs that certain highly anticipated features are nearing the implementation stage. Still, we’ll take what we can get. (more…)

Google Buys Messaging Client Emu, Hopefully to Make Hangouts Better

Emu, a messaging client on iOS, announced today that Google has acquired it. The company, which is led by ex-Google, Apple (Siri team), and Yahoo employees, pushed their app out of beta earlier in the year. However, as of August 25, it will cease to function, meaning users will no longer be able to send, receive, or download messages.

Why buy Emu, you ask? Well, Emu actually looks like a pretty solid messaging app that could bring great improvements to Hangouts, which is sorely lacking in features.  (more…)

Hangouts is Now an Option for Making Calls on Google Voice

Google Voice and Hangouts will be merged at some point in the future, at least that is what Google keeps telling us. Google announced back at last year’s I/O conference, again in October, and then again in March that Hangouts is the “future” of Voice, only they forgot to give us another update at this year’s I/O conference. So yes, we are more than a year into this supposed merger of Hangouts and Voice, yet the mystery surrounding the timing of that action is thicker than ever.

Thankfully, we know that at least Google’s Alex Wiesen has not stopped working on Google Voice. He told us back in June that Google is working to improve voicemail transcriptions with your help, and has followed that up with the unveiling of Hangouts calls through the web version of Google Voice. Mentioned on his G+ page last night, Weisen noted that when placing a call through the web version of Voice, you now have the option to call through Hangouts instead of through your phone or “Google Talk.” If you aren’t a G+ user, you can still use the Hangouts option as it doesn’t require a G+ account.  (more…)

Hangouts Debug Activates “Migrate” to Google Voice Menu, Doesn’t Work

What happens when you root your phone and tell it to “DebugAllTheThings?” You find interesting debugging menus in apps like Google Hangouts that activate never-before-seen pop-ups that mention things like migrating to Google Voice, so that you can receive voicemails in Hangouts. Wait, that feature isn’t live yet, is it? No it isn’t. It still doesn’t appear to be live either, even if you debugged all the things to find this hidden gem.  (more…)

Google Voice Receives Update to V0.4.3.8, Not Much to be Seen

Google Voice received a minor update today on Android to version 0.4.3.8, up from version 0.4.2.82. As you would expect with a minor jump in build number, there isn’t much to see here. This does not appear to be a massive make-over or bring full Hangouts integration or produce unicorn tears.

The only thing I’m noticing that could be new, is how Google is handling international calls. After updating, Google Voice shows a pop-up that leads you to this support page with an explanation on whether or not you are correctly making an international call with Google Voice.

Seeing anything that we aren’t?  (more…)

Google Hangouts Updates to V2.1.223 – Introduces Custom Sounds and Ringtones for Conversations (Updated)

Google Hangouts is receiving a new update today to version 2.1.223. The update, which is a jump from 2.1.100, appears to be pretty minor. So far, all I am seeing are a couple of new options in conversations that allow you set custom sounds for messages, as well as custom sounds for Hangouts calls. Otherwise, that is about it.

To see these new options, open a conversation, tap on the Menu button (“action overflow”), hit “People & options,” and then set your custom sounds.  (more…)