Google's new cross-platform group messaging service is pushing out to devices

Hangouts, the long-rumored messaging service from Google that pulls together text, photo, video and group chat all into one service, is pushing out in the Play Store today as an update to the Google Talk app. The app is a serious departure from the old-school design found on talk, with an all new layout that focuses first on conversations and then on individual contacts. The main screen is a list of your different ongoing conversations -- "Hangouts" -- with pictures of the people involved in them. When you start a new hangout you can search people by name, email, circle or even phone number and start a chat.

Right now it looks like it's basically building on just the previous Talk system of chatting, and although it does ask to confirm your phone number and you can search contacts by their numbers, there's no SMS support here just yet. Go grab a download of the new Hangouts app from the Play Store link above.

There are 134 comments

Jaredshoes says:

So is this babel?

still1 says:


jrsharp70 says:

No. This is hangouts.

Babel was an app that let you put all of your contacts in one place and see a unified messaging inbox.

Hangouts is an update to talk, but it makes it hard to tell who is online, and clutters your contacts with people you can't even reach through the app.

Babel was scrapped for hangouts, because Google doesn't have the talent to code as well as the Facebook messenger or imessage team, and they thought they could hide that fact with lots of emoticons that children use.

dtblair24 says:

LMAO thanks for this. I was pretty disappointed to see that this is pretty much the same Google talk.

n8ter#AC says:

This actually worse. The 1:1 Voice Calling that I rely on in the building I train in (which gets literally no AT&T cell reception, so they have WiFi deployed all over the building) was ripped out, and the Video Calling 1:1 or otherwise is tied to Google+. No thanks. Picture Sharing is also tied to Google+. I suppose that is just way too hard for Google to implement like a normal Messaging Service, right?

The UI is better, that's about it.

And that Buddy List view is one of the most badly designed things I've ever seen.

Buddies (Friends) are hodge podged together with Groups (Circles) and there's a whole section dedicated to listing every single contact on your device with their Email Address and Phone Number in plain view in that list (WTF?). Yep, I get to send AT&T Customer Service a Hangout invite. Incredible???

Oskiee says:

Not compatible with my nexus 7!?

Noticed same thing for my Nexus 10...what gives?!?

scouser73 says:

Hopefully it's a glitch, otherwise it's a f&^%up.

Doog Lingo says:

I agree

Jordan Pt says:

Same here. Went to Play site and it says that my Nexus 7 is incompatible. WTF? Google needs to work this out fast. What's the point if it doesn't work on our Tablets as well as phones.

Ry says:

Maybe it's not ready for tablets yet.

Cube1701 says:

I installed the .apk on my Nexus 7. It's ready for tablets.

Taz89 says:

How did you do that

Hreidmardmar says:

Ofcourse is ready with tablets as there are screenshots of Tablet UI.

Here is the APK i uploaded if anyone wants it. =)

SABtres says:


scouser73 says:

The side loading worked a treat, thank you very much.

ayg says:

Nope, my Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 are not compatible devices.

clintbrown15 says:

I downloaded it on my Nexus 4, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be tablet support yet :-(

So no SMS support? This gets a huge pass for now then. Without SMS integration, like iMessage, this is essentially just another IM client like the many out there. When there is SMS support and this becomes the new stock messaging app, then i'll use it.

ceriem says:

Exactly. I was hoping for SMS integration like the new Facebook Messenger app. That way everything will go through this one app.

marsdta says:

If you look at the permissions it does look like it will have sms support. Maybe we have to wait for 4.3 to be pushed for the complete integration?

klinkdawg24 says:

exactly what i was thinking... or at least hoping haha

I was hoping it would have SMS integration right out of the box.

Lenny Kaps says:

I have to say that I was as well. They sure made it seem like it was going to come out like that. I will let it go for now considering it just came out for today, but I want this feature sooner rather than later.

KTMKTM says:

The SMS permission is just to send people in your contact list a text "invite" to download the app if it doesn't find a gmail linked to their name.

still1 says:

hangout asked me for my phone number confirmation. so its there

Right now the phone # confirmation is just there so that you can search (and be searched) by phone # to start chats.

88 FLUX says:

I hope we see an update to the Google+ app that removes Messenger and instead integrates with this.

I installed on my S3 and N4 the moment I saw it available. Looks awesome!

Thats exactly what I am hoping for. I hate all the extra icons in my app drawer.

Budius says:

exactly what I came to complain about too.
OK, awesome hangout app, super slick, but FFS remove the damn Messenger from the G+ app.

oh yeah... and it does have all the SMS permissions, so the feature will roll out soon, I'm sure it will.

icyitscold says:

It has the send SMS permissions so it can send an SMS to contacts without google accounts "to invite them to Hangouts"

Not sure why it would have the recieve SMS permissions...

superm1 says:

It needs receive SMS for the verify phone number feature. When you first sign in it validates your phone number and receives a message with that validation.

jrsharp70 says:

So it can send them an SMS asking them to join Google+

etnpnys says:

I was thinking this also, and I swear that they said something a G+ update on our phones, but I'm not able to find any evidence of that now. Are we going to get an update to the Google+ app on our phones or not? I'm hoping so, to remove the Messenger feature and integrate it with the new Hangouts...

Also, what about the "Messenger" app that comes with Google+? Will that be going away, or is it still a thing?

Devlyn16 says:

I have to agree launching W/O supporting the Nexus tablets seems a bit odd

My Play Store won't let me upgrade. When I follow the Play Store link, the only option is to open the app, but it's still the old Talk app. How can I force it to upgrade to Hangouts?

reeper55 says:

This is also the case for me on my stock VZW GNEX

calbrs04 says:

Same here. All it says is open and when I do it's talk. Also why doesn't it work on the n7? B. S.

marsdta says:

I forced it by doing it from my laptop. was getting no where from my N4

chaint says:

This worked for me too. Thanks!

Albert S says:

Same thing was happening to me on my Nexus 4. I was able to force it from my desktop and it worked. Thank you!

doodlleus says:

worked like a charm, thanks :)

Jahan Uddn says:

How do i do it??

nexus15 says:

Play store from your desktop click install and pick your phone. Confirmed the issue on an htc one and an n4.

pptarr says:

Same thing happened to me. I installed it via the Google Play web store. Simply sign in with your google account, and click install, select your device(s) and it should work.

Good luck!

phosphoer says:

When I try this, the webstore lists Hangouts as Installed, so I cannot install it, even though I only have Talk on my phone. I tried force stopping and clearing data.

bryan64613 says:

I have the same problem. Can someone please help? I have an EVO LTE.

Thank you,

KTMKTM says:

It's just slightly delayed.New apps show up in the Google Play web portal before the phone app.

Same here. Cannot download it and cannot install from the desktop, it won't let me because it says it's already installed on my devices.

marsdta says:

credit goes to rdr321 for finding this. but SMS will be supported. Maybe we have to wait for 4.3 to be released for all the integration to be complete.

Here are the permissions
Allows the app to receive and process SMS messages. This means the app could monitor or delete messages sent to your device without showing them to you.
Allows apps to read data from the Google Talk content provider.
Allows the app to read SMS messages stored on your device or SIM card. This allows the app to read all SMS messages, regardless of content or confidentiality.
Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.

zyeagle17 says:

This is only so you can text people to invite them to a hangout.. POP <-- bubble burst

Mayoo614 says:

Should we uninstall all the rest?

zhecht says:

So now we have Google Talk, Hangouts, and G+ Messenger?

Is this really just a new version of Talk (i.e. does it interface with Jabber and Gmail Google talk users), or will this only talk to your G+ contacts?

icebike says:

And also is the plan to force us all into Google+ whether we want to or not?

Diskoman says:

Get used to it. Everything is going to eventually hook in via some way shape or form to Google+. Considering that every other platform either has tied all of their apps together (or is currently doing it) and received kudos for it...what's the big deal? ADAIC, this just streamlines everything Google as time goes on. Hopefully it'll even eventually push Facebook aside. Look for Google Play Games and Google Voice to eventually tie in to Google+ some way as well.

It seems to be able to message user on google talk or using jabber, but I can receive messages from them. Kind of ruins the app with out this...

icebike says:

jabber interoperability broke completely for me.
Uninstalled and went back to Talk and its all good.

So now we have Google Talk, +Messenger, Google Voice, and Hangouts. What the jelly is going on?? Wheres the 'integration' we were suppose to see?

MrHost says:

Google voice isn't related to these group of apps. That is visual voice mail.

roninksb says:

Its not like Google doesn't already have my phone number but why the heck do they ask for it in this app?

Is it required?

I figured how to get it going. You have to be rooted! of all things. If its preinstalled on your phone, you can't replace it! I had to use titanium backup to remove it... sucks if your not rooted

phillysdon04 says:


Deke218 says:

For the soon to be text feature.

Eclectech says:

Hmmmm, so ideally when this update comes thru on my HTC One, the 'Talk' and 'Messenger' icons in my app drawer should disappear.

Ohleo says:

Where is it though? I don't see it on me HTC One

bryan64613 says:

Can someone please tell me how to update? I still see the "Talk" on my phone. whe I go to the play store it won't let me update, just open it.

Mayoo614 says:

I installed Hanghouts from the desktop playstore. Then I had a Talk icon and a Hangouts icon. Talk wasn't appearing in PlayStore anymore and not in my installed apps. I tried opening Talk and it opened Hanghouts. So I just removed the icon on the home screen and forgot about it.

Redchong says:

Guys go onto a desktop and install it onto your device there

iknownothing says:

That's not even working for some of us.

nickacs says:

Like others said, I'd rather wait for SMS/MMS support and then time for move phone# to GV and f the carriers! :)

ExtremeNerd says:

SMS works on Voice now. MMS I don't think works. However, this seems like a way to leave the carriers as it is. Some people may not need a phone number anymore. If I could convert my grandparents to the internet, I could ditch it. If you can "text" me through Google+, I don't need traditional SMS.

nickacs says:

MMS on GV does not work at all for anyone other than using a Sprint phone (still a workaround). But when MMS does work on Hangout/some other Google chat platform, then there will be ZERO need for any of the 4 carriers. CYA! LMFAO

Insp_Gadget says:

The problem is that SMS is ubiquitous and universal. Hangouts is not. It suffers from the same problem that all instant messenger apps do: people on both ends of the conversation have to make a conscious effort to install it and use it.

I was hoping that it would at least incorporate SMS as a fall-back for communicating with people that aren't using Google's services. SMS is a long way from being retired. I'd love to use this full-time (and ditch SMS), but it will take a major shift in people's habits before this app (as it stands now) will be able to satisfy everyone's needs.

Darkbotic says:

Oh dude! Never do that on the internet...

Jai B says:

Did they just replace talk and give no way to do a voice call??? What am I missing? I cant believe it that they actually removed a feature! Is there any way to get the old google talk back?

Edit: Uninstalling the Hangouts app gets back the old talk app.

icebike says:

I can't figure it out either.
Gawd, this update is awful. It is disorganized, confusing, and it appears to break Jabber compatibility!

icebike says:

Ah, good find about the Uninstall.

Its not ready for prime time folks.
It breaks Jabber compatibility.
The interface is horribly confusing,
Making a voice only call is nowhere to be seen.
Your Contacts list doesn't show which account you are seeing (some users have multiple accounts and you can' see their actual account name to know who it is, just a name.

Give it a few months and it might be useable. Huge Kluge.

Uninstalling gets back all that Talk could do.

sjsmr2 says:

I am right with you. I removed this app also to go back to Talk. Hangouts is not ready for prime time yet. I need to see who is online! There has got to be a way to organize that contact list. Funny thing thought, even after it was uninstalled it still shows up as installed on my nexus 4 on the Google play store.

peterfares says:

Yeah, you also can't tell if a contact is online or not and if they're on a mobile device or on a computer.

Jdroid3 says:


mercado79 says:

So what number do I enter? My Google Voice number (that my friends and family have) or my actual SIM/phone number?

Insp_Gadget says:

It grabs your SIM number by default, but you can change it. I changed it to my Google Voice number since that's what I use/publish to friends.

rackotech says:

How do I update? In Google Play just an option for open.. No option for update. When I open it it takes me to the old Talk app.

rackotech says:

Oh.. Got it.. Do it through the desktop.. Thanks

gonsa says:

do it from the from the computer.

SABtres says:

Did this. Nothing downloaded and now it shows up as "installed" on both my Play Store web interface and Android app. Clicking "open" takes me to Talk. Frustrating.

I'm on a stock 4.2.2 Nexus 4.

icebike says:

Count your blessings.

You lose a lot of functionality with this update.

3Dee says:

Why the frick is this showing all of my phone contacts as a swipable page to the right - I do not want this and it is dangerous!!!!

Anyone know how to remove this?

this is the same thing driving me up a wall. I now see Google contacts, Google+ contacts, Phone contacts, and Google+ circles. It's a giant mess imo.

KTMKTM says:

Lolwut? How is that dangerous? And no you can't hide them in the app.

carraser891 says:

So is this kind of like iMessage?

bearda says:

No, it's not. No association with SMS at all.

mech1164 says:

Thing is imessage has no relationship to SMS on the iPad. Only the iPhone and that sucks to.

gonsa says:

I insert the phone number, receive a sms with a confirmation code but, where do i insert that code?
in hangouts app still says "confirming phone number"
EDIT: It confirmed by itself alone.

bearda says:

I found out the hard way it doesn't seem to work if you have Facebook Messenger handling SMS.

Didn't work for me, I get a message it didn't confirm

Edit: As soon as I typed that it worked. Damn!

sethjk says:

Got the app installed. Only problem I'm having is double notifications. I get the new Hangouts notification but I also get a google talk notification. When I click app info, it says it's the google framework app. Can I disable notifications for this?

ccw1134 says:

Try rebooting your phone first. See what happens. It may fix it.

SABtres says:

Having difficulty installing this on my Nexus 4. Installed from the Google Play store, did not replace talk on my phone. When I check it out on the google play store on my phone, it says it is installed but when I click "open" it takes me to oldschool Talk... Anyone having similar issues?

It will not let me uninstall Talk from my app settings, nor does it show up on my Web or Android Play Store interfaces to uninstall. I do, however, see Hangouts as "installed." Opening it merely takes me to the older version of Talk.

Insp_Gadget says:

It replaced Talk on my phone (Galaxy Nexus). Talk is no longer in the list of installed apps or the app drawer. The "Talk" app icon is still on my home screen, but if I tap it, it takes me to Hangouts (as I would expect).

Not sure what's wrong on your end.

Same here. See it as installed, but opens Talk. Tried to load it from the desktop and it won't allow it since it shows up as installed.

Not sure what's going on on Google's end.

So I actually have to have service to use this app now? I use WiFi only on my S3. Left sprint but not on good terms. This is going to stuck for me then.

I meant suck not stuck. Lol

pitchersduel says:

interesting...i go to the play store on my N4 says the app is already installed...i didnt install it yet...was first time going to d-load it, so i hit open and it takes me to google talk.


Sethoth says:

Yea same here.

Taz89 says:

Wait not compatible with nexus 7...really after all the talk of able to chat from anywhere I cant use my tablet lol

chrismage says:

Says can't verify my phone number?

Mikeric says:

Verified mine without sending me a message or anything

Mayoo614 says:

Same for me.

dmcincubus says:

I just don't understand why you release this thing with no sms support. Dumb.

skyboxer says:

After seeing how unnatural it it's too use Google plus this doesn't surprise me at all. Now BlackBerry has a chance to take over the world with BBM.

True BBM might take the cake

Hootermancs says:

For anybody that didn't get the I/O updates:

gotzaDroid says:

Why is it that there isn't even an option to accept video calls over cellular? Seriously??

darkoman4 says:

Lmao, this is huge mess. Instead of simplifying it, Google went on making it almost impossible to use.

NastyNeil says:

You have to tap on the little 3 dot buttons in app store when it gives you the option to open. Once there you can accept the app.

Well this didn't really unify anything.

Still have a separate app for SMS/MMS. The Google+ Messenger app is still around (even after the G+ app update). It's just an improved Google Talk app.

This shouldn't have been released until it had SMS/MMS functionality.

pitchersduel says:

agreed. i got it to finally install after going directly from the play store website and sending it to my phone.

at this point its just a updated google talk. i would assume more features (sms/mms, GV integration) will come...but yeah.

also why is google talk icon still around after you download hangouts? not a big deal but seems like they would have it delete/replace itself.

slwatts says:

My Google Talk icons were replaced with the new "hangouts" icon. Still trying to figure out where Hangouts ends and Google+ Messenger begins.

icebike says:

Un install hangouts and google talk is back with all functionality restored.

sjsmr2 says:

Only small problem is that once it is uninstalled the Play Store still shows it as an Installed app.

Briredsoxs says:

Nice first try but Talk is better.. Unistalled... Next

abtxpress says:

Not a fan! Talk was fine the way it was. Sticking with what's app. Hope bbm looks good.

greekgod says:

I cant install it on my HTC One S , it says its installed because I have Talk, but the only option in play store is open, can't uninstall and reinstall because I don't have the option to uninstall...any help would be greatly appreciated!

pitchersduel says:

go to the play store online directly and have it sent to your phone

greekgod says:

Thanks, I just tried that and I'm getting the same thing it says its already installed.....stupid bloatware apps that you cant uninstall, that's the one thing I cant stand with these phones, getting a nexus next time whether its a POS or not....

calbrs04 says:

You can't do a video chat with someone that only has talk on their N7.

W_R_R says:

From the looks of things, I'll just wait for BBM for Android.

dramatist77 says:

Looks the exact same on my Nexus 7 as my GS4 and EVO 4G. Got it to the N7 by backing up the .apk from the GS4, uploading to Dropbox, then sideloading to the N7.

Add me isaiah vanhuse

deadlock4400 says:

@Andrew Martonik

Thanks for the post.

in Samsung Skyrocket (OS:Jelly Bean 4.1.2) it's showing "talk" only but in play store it's showing its already installed but from there if hangout opened then it's showing "talk". hope after pushing the hangout properly the sign n symbol will be changed properly.

Thanks in Advance

VDub2174 says:

According to the Google Play store, I have this installed on my phone even though I don't see it in my app drawer.