Google Hangouts

Hangouts is receiving a small update today, and while the changelog hasn't been updated on the Play Store just yet there are a few small differences we're noticing. First up is a new "hidden contacts" area of the settings separate from the "blocked people," giving you a way to hide folks from your contact listing but not block their messages completely. Individual chats can now have different notification sounds as well, letting you differentiate messages from calls and choose different sounds for different chat sessions.

A long-running issue with Hangouts that caused obscene background battery drain has also been resolved, according to a Google Groups thread on the issue. It may take a few days to see how it has improved, but let's hope this is the case!

Version 2.1.223 of Hangouts is available now from the Play Store link above — and as always it's taking some time to roll out to everyone.

Thanks, dcdttu!


Reader comments

Hangouts update adds custom notification sounds for each chat


because I suspect they are planning on killing Google Voice. Probably at some point in the future be able to call other Google Hangouts members, but no calling phone numbers. It's back to the walled garden we go. Curiously VOIP calling is available for Hangouts on Apple and Apple is getting ready to roll out VOIP calling baked into iOS 8. Really sucks that Google seems to be going in the opposite direction.

Then I'd like to point out that what you suspect is wrong. As in "currently/provably wrong". You can make calls from your computer through Hangouts (and it uses your Google Voice number) to ANY phone number you wish (as in it's not restricted to Google Hangout or Google Voice users).

You can even transfer the call to your phone.

We really shouldn't go around voicing our suspicions without anything in the way of evidence to back them up. More so false suspicions that have already been debunked. (Droid Life did a post on this some time back. So it's that much worse, in regards to how wrong you are.)

Yes Hangouts on computer has it for now, but again it wouldn't surprise me if it goes away. From where I sit there are one of two things going on. Google has abandoned the idea of VOIP and is doing no further development with it or Google has their head up their you know where. Google is starting to strike me (and understand I have 4 Android devices so it's not like I'm a Google hater) as a company whose developers are living in some sort of Ivory tower with less and less connection to their actual everyday users.

I might have missed them, but this is my first time seeing that. I love it. :-)

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I first applaud this lite update, but I still can't believe hangouts doesn't have the functionality to block SMS. Yeah I know about the muting or silencing of notifications for any given number... but even with that option, texts still show up, they just don't make a noise or show up in notification pull down. What about a full on BLOCK feature Google?

I hope to god the battery draining wake-lock issue is really fixed. I've been dealing with a revolt in my house over the issue introduced in the last update. I'm afraid Google will lose one of the girls to the iPhone now. Honestly, my faith was wavering alot over this issue too.

To have a core app suffer from a known bug for this long is ridiculous. Quit working on autonomous cars and fix the bugs in Android and you core apps.

Because the people working on autonomous cars don't care what they do for their job? Even if those people could do a better job an Google's Android apps (which isn't a given in any case) they may only be working for Google because they are able to do something cool like working on autonomous cars.

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I'm afraid you'll have to try harder with your jokes in future. There's no indication you were trying to be funny.

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I wish Hangouts had a built in pop up notification system. I know there are apps out there like SMS Popup but the notification didn't always pop up on my screen. Something like iMessage would be nice ;)

Posted via my SM-G900V

So how does the hidden contacts work? I can't see how to make a conversation hidden.

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Has search been added into the app? The lack of search in Hangouts is keeping me from embracing it as my default SMS app.

This is the primary reason I have to install a third party SMS app on my wife's phone. My phone is always in my pocket or sitting in my car turned off during work hours, so I don't have any need for it, but my wife's phone stays on a counter while she works hard taking care of the kids. We have a 2-story house with a basement, so the chance of her hearing an SMS notification the first time it goes off is pretty slim.

While this is a cool feature, I'd be happier with actionable notifications and a quick reply feature. Every other Google app that sends a notification has actionable features. Its amazing Hangouts is not one of those apps.

Finally....individualized sounds. had that since my Blackberry days. Really wanted to use Hangouts, but not giving up the individualized sounds. It's nice to hear the sound and know if I need to check it now (like from my wife) or later (like a stupid text from a poker buddy)

Hi there,

Brand new to the forum AND to this app. Can you please tell me HOW to set up individual notification sounds with this for each person in my contact list? Or point me to a tutorial on it? I would really appreciate it. Sorry to sound stupid but I can't figure it out.


Same here. Play Store says update on June 4, but it isn't coming down for me yet. I want those notification sounds.

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I found the APK online. Was able to download it on my computer, transfer it to SD card and install through root explorer. I'd post the site, but I think that's against the rules.

They were right, the battery drain issues are bye-bye. It was #1 on my phone's battery usage for weeks, beating out the screen even. Now it's not even on the list and Google Play Services has calmed down drastically as well. I'm glad they finally fixed it, but honestly, weeks and weeks to fix a core app is probably weeks and weeks too long.

Hear, hear!

This fiasco has really made me rethink my commitment to Android. Having that battery-draining issue in Hangouts for so long is inexcusable. What the hell are they doing over there?!

Sorry for the rant but his really pisses me off!

Agreed. Also, this whole 'rollout of an app in waves while the Play Store taunts you with the latest app's stats' thing is ridiculous. People get so confused because they see an updated app's pictures and features, but don't actually have the update for days and days and think they're stupid. What an awful way to do an app update, 'testing' should never be done on the general public. Not like that.

Who cares about sounds??? What about presence? Hangouts does not jive with gchat. Very frustrating to always show as being idle to people on their gmail. Google needs to add green, red, yellow, grey availabilities to hangouts.