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This article was published on September 25, 2013


Google Hangouts for Android gets icons to show who is available, contact categories, and pinch-to-zoom photos

Google Hangouts for Android gets icons to show who is available, contact categories, and pinch-to-zoom photos
Emil Protalinski
Story by

Emil Protalinski

Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Google today updated Google Hangouts for Android, adding multiple new features including a very useful one that lets you finally distinguish between who is online and who is merely signed in. You can download the new version now directly from Google Play.

First and foremost, you can now see not just who is online but also who is currently reachable on Hangouts. Green icons depict they are, and gray icons mean they aren’t. Unfortunately you can’t toggle these yourself.

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When starting a new Hangout, contacts are now split into three groups. From top to bottom, these are: People you Hangout with, Suggested People, and Other Contacts. Google wouldn’t elaborate how the second category is populated but we assume it’s based on your interactions with that individual across Google’s services.

Hangout invites are now located above your conversations so they’re easier to spot. You can now also hide people from the New Hangout screen by pressing on their name for a few seconds and tapping on “Hide contact.”

Last but certainly not least, you can now pinch-to-zoom on photos. That means you can finally get a close-up without frantically stabbing your Android device.

Here’s the full Google Hangouts version 1.2 changelog:

  • You can finally see who is on Hangouts! When you start a new Hangout, green icons show who’s on, and gray shows who’s not.
  • Contacts are now organized by People you Hangout with, Suggested People, and Other Contacts.
  • Long press contacts in the New Hangout screen to hide them.
  • Invites are now above your conversations so they’re easier to find.
  • Pinch-to-zoom photos!

It’s not clear when Google Hangouts for iOS will be getting these improvements as well. We’ll update you when we know.

See also – Google upgrades ALL Google+ Hangouts to HD quality and Google is killing Google+ Messenger on iOS and Android in favor of Hangouts

Top Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/Getty Images

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