A video messaging option was long overdue for the Google Hangouts app on Android, but it's finally here.
If you've been using Hangouts on iOS, you've been able to enjoy video messaging for a good while now, as Google rolled it out back in February 2014. If you're using the messaging app on Android, however, you may have noticed the absence of this feature.
In some odd twist, Google decided to offer the voice messaging feature on iOS first and then wait for more than two years before extending the same courtesy to Android. This is a bit odd because Google typically rolls out new tricks and features to its own platform first.
It remains unclear just why Hangouts users on Android were left out in the cold for so long, but at least Google finally made the feature available on its platform as well.
Voice messaging will finally be possible with Hangouts v11 for Android. The update is not yet live in the Play Store at the time of writing, but if you're too excited and don't want to wait for the official rollout, you can grab the official APK from Google.
Once you get it up and running, you should be able to send video messages to your Hangouts contacts using an Android device. You'll be able to access the feature through a video camera icon on the bar at the bottom, and it's all pretty easy and straightforward. Just tap the icon, record your video message and send it out. As simple as that.
It's worth pointing out, however, that the APK may not enable the feature for everyone. 9to5Google reports that it couldn't get it to work, so there may still be some kinks to iron out. In this case, the best course of action is just to wait until the update officially rolls out through the Play Store. With the APK already available, the official rollout should be just around the corner.
Aside from video messaging, version 11 of Hangouts for Android also brings another change and not all users may be happy with it. As of this version, conversation merging is no longer in the mix, as Google chose to ditch the feature completely.
"Merged conversations used to let you see your Hangouts messages and text messages in the same conversation. We have decided to remove it, because it caused user confusion and had low usage," Google explains.
That's pretty much the opposite of what Facebook is doing with its Messenger app, pushing SMS merging to serve as a one-stop shop for all your conversations.