Hangouts for Android may finally get the overhaul it needs, according to leak

There are floating action buttons galore and lots of interface tweaks, but the lack of tablet support shows it's not yet ready for prime time.

hangouts android
Credit: Derek Walter

Google Hangouts is finally inching closer to making its Material Design debut. 

Android Police captured a build of a forthcoming version 4.0 overhaul and shared plenty of screenshots and hints of what to expect. 

hangouts 4.0 Android Police

Hangouts now finally has the interface to match all of Google’s other overhauled apps.

A floating action button pulls up a list of contacts, just like you get with Inbox. The conversation list drops the lines between chats, matching the look of Google’s Messenger SMS/MMS app.

The smartest-looking changes are targeted at how you share images, stickers, emoji, or your location during a conversation. Currently, you hit a paper clip icon and then choose which of these you wish to share. Instead, icons are now accessible on the bottom, which slides up to reveal the images or a map. Notably, Google has reversed the color scheme: incoming messages are now green and your replies are white. 

hangouts 4.0 chats Android Police

Adding attachments, emoji, or stickers is a much smoother experience.

Sharing a status that all your contacts can see also gets more prominent play. It’s an interesting choice, as keeping an active status calls back to the days of instant messaging on the desktop with Google Talk

Android Police also found there is no reformatted version yet for tablets, an indication Google still has work to do before pushing this live. But we should be close, especially since so many of Google’s other apps have already been made over to the new look.

The story behind the story: Hangouts has been on a haphazard journey. It was once swallowed as part of Google+, then spit back out without the social network branding. The app integrated Google Voice features, but the former service still lives on its own. And while Hangouts does SMS and MMS messaging, Google doesn’t recommend using it for that purpose if you’re on Project Fi. Hopefully this latest app overhaul is the start of some clarity for the future of Hangouts, which has a lot going as a solid messaging platform.

This story, "Hangouts for Android may finally get the overhaul it needs, according to leak" was originally published by Greenbot.

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