Hangouts for iOS

Big update for iOS also includes animated gif support and audio ducking

Here at AC we're all about Android and Google. But this time I have to spread a little iOS news, because it's about an update to a core Google service — Hangouts.

The iOS Hangouts app just got a major update that enables voice calling. If you're a Google Voice user, outgoing Hangouts calls will use your Google Voice number. Incoming calls to that number can be answered from the Hangouts app. Yes, iOS got this update before Android did. Yes, it's a direct shot at FaceTime Audio. And yes, it's very important to all of us as Android users.

Unlike the aforementioned FaceTime Audio, Hangouts is cross-platform. That means people using all the popular operating systems, both on the desktop and mobile, can communicate with each other. This is what Google does. This is what Google is good at.

Having Hangouts audio calling on iOS only is not how Google works. It will be coming to Android in the near future. It will probably be part of a much bigger update to Hangouts for Android devices. And we will cover the shit out of it. In the meantime, we're glad iOS users can give this a try, and hopefully when the update for Android and Chrome does come, all the kinks will be worked out and we can all call each other and do some sort of harmonious stuff.

If you have an iPhone, go update. And be thankful that Google loves you.

Source: +Vic Gundotra

 

Reader comments

Hangouts for iOS receives voice calling feature

146 Comments

From a business point of view I can understand this. However, as a bias Android user this pisses me off!

Posted via the Android Central App on my Note 2

But why? It's coming for Android soon, and the fact that they are putting effort into a service making it cross-platform is only a win for all of us using that service. Do you only communicate with users using the Android platform?

This is a quote from Vic Gundotra (VP of engineering at Google)

https://plus.google.com/107117483540235115863/posts/5QJY1dQdF6D

"Guys, don't worry. We have massive investment in Android. I promise you will be happy soon. Don't get upset because we show some love to Google users who use iOS. There are a lot of them. And they are good people :-)"

The question is why did they strip voice calling out of Talk when they renamed it Hangouts?

Voice only calls via talk worked world wide. Its been so long since they stripped this capability out of Hangouts that most people don't even remember that it supported Text, Voice, or Video calls.

Off topic, but still has the same meaning : I remember having a windows phone the old ones, before 3G was even standard. Windows messenger had file sharing, not the file sharing that they have in these days where they consider a picture, short sound file or even video messages files. I used to share large files of any kind it didn't matter the size or type of file... I'm wondering if that will ever come back... Although I think that dropbox, box & Google drive links are better because you have more control & options to send to a couple of people since it's a link to a file or folder, it just seems that little by little terms like file sharing change & I could imagine what else will get diluted. I'm just saying.

You won't believe how fast you will get over I... Never mind you are over it already

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

What I want to know, is will I finally be able to use my Talk credit on my phone, or is this yet another Google-Voice-only slap in the face for us international users?

It's actually fairly easy to explain.

Apple not only has a smaller hardware base, it has a more refined developer platform (this is part of why Google is developing Android Studio). It's simply easier to turn around new features for an iOS app ahead of the Android equivalent. Google likely decided that it wasn't worth holding back features for weeks just to score a few points in the platform wars.

Also Google seems to design the apps a little better in iOS, my apps look nothing like my friends on iOS. It looks a little more ergonomic and streamlined

My guess is this is part of a bigger plan. Kit Kat is rumored to have hangouts/Google+ baked right into the OS, namely the SMS application. For them to create a separate app in advance of that would make no sense. I like what they've done here and also like the timing as it suggests Kit Kat is imminent.

Why Google? And if u do that be a little fair to Windows Phone and give them your services too !!

Posted via Android Central App

Same thing with me! I had a Htc HD7 and i switched to nexus 4 because of the same reason. I really like wp and it would be very good if microsoft get google services

Posted via Android Central App

I have the feeling that i even if microsoft become a competition with lot of market share google will still act like they're doing now

Posted via Android Central App

Reality is, MS has tiny market share. Between Apple and Android, that's 90+% of global smartphone users. MS had too buy Nokia to keep them from jumping ship from WP8 like every other manufacturer.

Posted via Android Central App

Wow I hate to agree with you but when you are right....

Wp and blackberry have the same footprint. 4% for both. It isn't worth the resources to push it out early

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

It isn't worth the resources to develop for them at all. It doesn't mean the platforms are bad, any more than WebOS was bad. They're just not relevant. Get to 10% of global market share and then folks might care.

Posted via Android Central App

If your market share is 1% and you "grow more and more every day" that really doesn't mean much (yes I know their market share is higher).

If Market Share held any sway at all, they would have released first on Android.
Pretty amazing that you totally missed that.

Market share IS a factor. So is development time. IOS has fewer variables to account for when developing (and testing) an app.

Posted via Android Central App

This is totally f'ing outrageous. I'm going to go trade my Android phone for an iPhone so I can get all the Google Apps first. Maps now this. BS!

You're ignorant. "So I can get them first." Okay, have fun with that locked, s*itty OS.

posted via a Google Nexus 4

No but look, This is complete bullshit that IOS get google services bfore us on android! How come?????? This is a blaspheme and Google owe us plenty od answers on that!!

Posted via Android Central App

STFU u 3" pencil d!ck loser. Stop your f-ing crying like your 12 (well maybe you are?! LMFAO). Google doesn't owe you sh!t kid. Android 4.4 is coming within the next 2 weeks and I can promise you that all will be good with your little bubble world again.
Now go ask your mommy for your daily Ritalin and CHILL!

Lol I wonder if u r either a stupid person with no brain or u r just a kid passing by...... Ur the one speaking like a 9 year old. This forum is for grow up ppl son! Go back to kindergarden buddy. Btw do u have a pair of balls? Jusk asking bro

Posted via Android Central App

While I would agree that his reply was childish, your originally comment and reply was very childish too, both in content and spelling. Just saying.

I dont know why thinking that android should get google services first before any other OS (isnt that logic) is childish! Its like i make ur homework completely for u but yet i didnt made mine. Maybe u would, but a lot of ppl would not which make sense. And abt the spelling, yes i assume i have the worst grammar, but keep in mind that English is not my first language

Posted via Android Central App

Calm down. They're about to release kitkat and we're probably going to have a far better hangouts app. I would imagine they just want to announce it all at once. It's actually a good way to build hype for their announcement if you think about it.

Definitely childish.
Google's iOS and Android team's likely got the assignments at the same time for this upgrade. Because Apple has a much more limited hardware set to develop for, their app was done first. Should Google sit on it and wait for the Android team? Or push the iOS update out and let them essentially act as a soak test?
Common sense (and business sense) says to do the latter.

Posted via Android Central App

Google doesn't make hardware but they DO make the software for it's core OS which is Android, that they created. Releasing signature apps to a competitor first is NOT common sense, no mater how you look at it.

The problem is, is that people will be upset but will forget and Google knows this. So they are basically flexing their muscle saying we can and will do what we want at any given time, and as for the comment by the Google engineer, he needs to be put to pasture. Sure. It's their company and they can do as they see fit.

Just think, it's like Samsung releasing their signature flexible display to Apple so they can be the first with bendable, unbreakable phones first. Crazy.

Wow. You so don't get it.
Google does make Android. Then they give it away. They don't sell it. Google takes a 100% loss on Android development. They make some money from apps and media sales, but that's not their core business. Their business is advertising.

Google has millions of users on iOS. Gmail, Maps, Search, these are Google's core services, they draw customers to their advertising. Android users are more likely to use Google services, but iOS users are still a large chunk of them.

This is NOT the same as Samsung giving hardware technology to Apple for free. Apple and Samsung are direct competitors. While Android and iOS compete, Google's relationship with Apple is FAR more complex. Hangouts is one more tool to keep iOS users using Google services like Gmail and Search (of the approximately dozen iPhone users I know, all use Gmail). Which is where Google makes their money. At the macro level, Google doesn't care what OS you use, just so long as you're using their website services where they provide advertising.

Posted via Android Central App

Hmmm. This is a pretty interesting thought. I didnt know that google wasnt making money on android os.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm not switching OS so untwist your panties. I was being sarcastic. Point is Apple wouldn't release a core app for Android first. #respect

In sure the android development team and the apps team are separate. The apps team does what's best for the apps, the android team does what's best for android. Maintaining that sort of separation is part of the reason Google is successful and Microsoft is beginning to bleed from every orifice.

Posted via Android Central App

None., that's a point of pride for Apple (somehow). That there are apps for all the other smartphone makers on iOS, but no iOS apps on other systems.

Posted via Android Central App

Great write up my a@@, how about just giving the facts and condescending jacka@@. He should write for imore he fits in.

Posted via Android Central App

Great article you guys. Most people can't get over the iOS part of this and how iOS gets all of the services first. This article was showing most likely what the next version of Hangouts was going to have for Android. I wouldn't switch OS'es over this stuff, but c'mon people. They even said Google did this to compete with Facetime Audio.

StealthDroid - Working in the Nexus Lab

Ironic that iOS gets android stuff first, but the way I see it....let all the isheep work out and deal with the early bugs, so that by the time it reaches android, it's polished and works well, keeping androiders happier that they weren't the guinea pigs. Enjoy iphoners!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

What do they always get first?
This makes maybe two times that i recall but then i don't pay attention to apple.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

it happened twice, really not a huge deal. Agree, let them work out the bugs. i think its a little shitty, but it is what it is. And its the 18th... we should have this update within 10 days.

Anyone know if the new iOS hangouts also handles visual voicemail from Google Voice now?

Posted via Android Central App

+infinity

Wish we were there! Only then we'll just pay out the nose for that too. One thing in life...there are no free lunches!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

So does this still use the voice minutes from your carrier the way Google Voice currently works or is it completely VOIP?

What I'm most interested is how forwarded calls are going to work then. Say I have hangouts installed with voice calls enabled and that phone is also the phone Google voice forwards calls to. Will it stop the regular from picking up? Either way can't wait foe it to come to Android.

Posted via Android Central App

The current voice app doesn't handle calls though. I'm wondering what would happen if someone calls a phone that happens to have hangouts installed and also be the phone that voice is set to forward to.

Posted via Android Central App

Im certain google thought of this and handled it. There is probably a setting accept calls in hangouts.

Im looking forward to making voip a bigger part of my diet!

iOS is built so that native cellular calls take priority on the screen over apps, one might start ringing before the other but the forwarded call will ultimately be the only thing on the screen.

I got it running on my iPhone. Looks like calls are done using data, regardless if I'm on wifi or LTE.

Honestly, I kinda wish I had the option to call via regular phone, just like the old Google Voice app.

Unless your data plan is really restrictive, you're probably better off calling over LTE. Voice calls really don't use very much data at all.

Loyal iPhone and Google Voice user here.

I'm shocked just as much as you guys. But let's be real: in the end, Google Voice/Hangouts will be integrated waaaay better into Android than it EVER will on iOS. You guys will be able to set Hangouts as your default SMS. You'll probably be able to make it your default phone app as well...and that makes things so much more intuitive and convenient. iOS will probably never get that.

Here's an example of why it sucks for iOS users:

If I'm browsing the Photos app and find a picture that I want to MMS to a friend, there is no option from the Photos app to send that photo to Hangouts.

Same thing with the Contacts app. If I find a number that I want to call, there is no option for me to call via Google Voice/Hangouts.

So don't trip too much over this; it's just a small "win" for iOS users today...you guys will benefit the most in the long game.

As a loyal android user, I want to thank you for that message, there's some people here that don't get that, and also that tighter integration takes longer to create.

I 100% agree with this and with what Jerry said. We all know that Hangouts is getting a major upgrade in 4.4 so I don't see an issue with iOS people getting this upgrade when we are within a month of getting a much larger update. Like Jerry said, let the iOS people bug test it first :P I now have an upgraded Hangouts on my iPad 3 and will soon have an amazing feature on my S4, which can only get better when the 4.4 AOSP is released.

Yes. That's exactly what's happening. Google is releasing a feature set on iOS a week before they release it on Android as part of their long-term secret plan to erode their user base. It was very clever of you to catch on.

I'm not pissed, but Google should take care of its own first.

Posted via Android Central App on a Nexus 4 running CM10.1.3

Sneaky feeling maybe the Hangouts for Android will roll with Kit Kat 4.4.....you know, with intergrated SMS defaults. Just saying. I suppose all that takes more time to intergrate and the IOS app was done fast because it does less. Just a thought.

Well put Jerry.

Patience. This will come to Android very soon, and along with it will likely be native SMS/MMS support, which the iOS version won't get.

I kind of feel bad for the GrooVe IP devs, though, since this will basically make that app unnecessary and put them out of business.

Posted via Android Central App

I was thinking the same thing. I am excited about this. I actually just purchased groove ip. I probably should have waited since we have known big changes have been coming for gv/hangouts. I don't regret buying it though. It has been a fun experiment with voip. I just wish i had discovered it sooner.

Get them hooked on the services first. Eventually they'll see the light and switch to Android. I don't mind that the iOS app was updated first because I'm willing to bet the update for Android will be a much bigger deal.

As an international user, I can't use it either way.

Would someone mind explaining the point of google voice? My phone already does calls and I don't have to worry about a data connection to make them.

Posted via Android Central App

Google Voice allows people to have a universal number across many devices. For example as device reviewers, we have to constantly forward calls and texts to various numbers and have friends and family wonder "Who is this?" when we text or call from the review device.

Google Voice solves that on Android devices.

Posted via Android Central App

I just wanted to say that I just tried out an iPhone 5 for one day. One whole day yesterday. I'm back on my S3 today. I missed not having Android Central app. iOS WAS BORING.

Posted via Android Central App

Without official GV support in Canada, any updates to Hangouts is pretty useless, unless it will still allow international Video and Voice calls (like Skype). I can't see that happening though, as it makes senes to have it all tied to a GV number.

However, if your country isn't one that supports GV (either due to Google, or your own government) you are SOL. Sadly.

For my fellow Canadians, it's NOT Google that hates us. From what I've read its our own "wonderful" CRTC. Thanks CRTC, you make life wonderful. NOT

Is because Google employees uses iOS instead of Android and I think we all should use that too #notpissed!

Posted via Android Central App

IOS users are just as important as Android users when it comes to making google money.

Its a good thing you people don't run google.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

Also consider that it does no good to implement a fully integrated voice and SMS cross platform Hangouts app with 4.4 if it's not actually available on the other platforms. You establish on iOS first and everything already works as advertised come release date for android.

Posted via Android Central App

remember - Microsoft just released Remote Desktop apps for Android and iOS before their own Windows Phone 8.

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUSNESS! YET ANOTHER APP DEV IGNORING WINDOWS PHONE! WHEN WILL THEY REALIZE THAT IT'S TOTALLY RELEVANT!?

We fan boys are the best.

Considering that less than 5% of smartphone users globally use WP, why should they develop for it?

Posted via Android Central App

I agree that releasing a signature product to a competitor first is asinine. But Google will do as they please and as this might be the 2nd time they've done this, it surely won't be the last.

Do you see Apple releasing signature core apps to Android? No. Releasing it to android before releasing it to the iPhone? No. There's a reason for this...COMPETITION!

Google needs to get their own apps straight on Android. They are getting way ahead of themselves.

Yeah, Google and their 50+% global market share sure are suffering...

Stupid fanbois...

Posted via Android Central App

There's nothing to be unsure of. Just tired of stupid fanbois that can't think more than 3" past their own nose. Try pitting together a post with an intelligent look at why Google does what it does for a change.

Posted via Android Central App

Android vs iOS?

This does NOT exist to Google. They dont care about an idiotic forum war. All they see is advertising dollars.

iOS is still the most popular OS in the US, and its users on average spend much more time surfing the web on the iPhone or iPad than people using Android. Most Android users are still feature phone converts that use their devices for basic services, light games and maps. Why should google bring it to Android first? They would get much more bang for the the buck developing iOS for the US market, which is exactly what they have done.

Most of you folks have AdBlock Plus installed anyways. You make Google exactly $0. You should be thanking them for their fantasic OS that you use cost free.

It should have been released to android users first in it's best form, then iOS users can get the scrap. Hangouts on KitKat better be the shit along with the entire update itself.

Probably a dumb question, but I assume you'll need a Google voice account in order to make calls?

Posted via my Nexus 7

why is Google, Inc. still treating its Android division like an illegitimate bastard child?

This is NOT the first time that Google has given iOS user earlier access to new features.
Android user can only wait... and wait.

Is it true that only 41% of Google, Inc. employees own Android phones as their personal
smartphones? (not company-issued, corporate-liable smartphones)

Thanks!