Not so long ago, rumors surfaced suggesting Google could be possibly working on the newest Android version of Hangouts. Now, Hangouts 5.0 has finally landed, bringing with it a few bug fixes as well as minor enhancements.
One notable enhancement the new version offers is the improved GIF support. Previously, users of Hangouts 4.0 were plagued with broken animated GIF support issues.
Users of the new version may also now be greeted with a brief splash screen that shows up when the application opens to the main conversation view. This element was not present in the previous version—Hangouts 4.2.
A checkbox toggle likewise seems to be updated. Now, the checkbox sports a brighter shade of green.
It is as well apparent that Google has killed off the Hangout's 3 x 3 home screen widget. Now, users should see "Widget no longer available."
Google Voice users in Hangouts can now take advantage of yet another added feature—the group MMS compose feature. In the previous version, Google Voice users were only allowed to receive and respond to the group MMS messages, instead of just being able to send a response to them.
It seems that Google has improved the applications' performance as well. Now, users should expect a speedier Hangouts version.
Meanwhile, a report has identified specific improvements—a few of which seem to be behind-the-scene fixes. These include removing the Dogfood icon, reducing the main screen conversation update lag, eliminating the sending messages lag, and taking away the loading conversation lag.
It is worth noting that Google has decided to slowly roll out the newest version of Hangouts. This means some Android users may need to wait a few days to get the update on their devices. Interestingly, an APK cownload is also available for those who can' wait.
How To Download The APK
For users who wish to sideload the APK on their devices, they should head over to APK Mirror.
Users should simply download the APK into their Android devices and go to Settings. They should then head to Security Settings and ensure that the Unknown Sources option is checked. Now, users should tap on the downloaded APK file. The update will then be installed on their Android devices.