Google's I/0 event keynote is in full swing with announcements for developers, gadget lovers and social media users. A cross-platform Hangouts app is one of the highlights, bringing its various communications apps together.
Google Across the Mobile Map
With all the major social media and communications players trying to get their apps on most ecosystems, you can have many folders on your smartphone if you need to chat across barriers. Microsoft offer Skype, Outlook and Lync, Facebook has its main app and Messenger, Google itself has Google+, Talk App and many others. That's a lot of apps for just trying to get along.
To try and bring a semblance of order to this mess, Google just showed off a new Hangouts app that will run across Android, iOS devices and Chrome on desktops to bring Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and Google+'s Hangout concept together.
Based on conversations you've had, it focuses on the people you communicate with most and will provide the easiest way to get in touch, from messages and voice to video chat. Conversations can be broken up into rooms, and you can invite multiple friends in for a true Hangout (for up to 10 people). As with Facebook's recent Messenger update, there's a load of fun emoticons to use to spice up the chat and
Its Good To Talk
The app will launch today and goes directly into battle against all the other services on offer, including the recent BlackBerry news that it will put BBM on other devices. Google's Hangout works with your media, so you can share photos and other content, meanwhile the Google+ app and service is getting an overhaul with some 40 new updates.
Elsewhere in the Keynote, Google announced it will be selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 as a stock Android device, unlocked on its own store for $649. And, we're likely to see Android 4.3 later at the event, more on that to come.