Google’s Senior Vice President in Engineering – Vic Gundotra announced some improvements to Google Hangouts today. This includes the much expected integration of SMS, animated GIF support, and location sharing.
The SMS integration feature was rumored to be coming along with the Android 4.4 KitKat update, which will be the default SMS handler so users will no longer have to use the separate SMS applications. Unfortunately though, there’s still no word on the integration of Google Voice with Hangouts. Location sharing is also being worked on, with a button that locates you on Google maps that lets you put it into your conversation.
Hangouts is getting major boosts outside of the mobile app as well. For one, the company is adding its auto enhance magic to video calls. So, should a participant in your Hangout carelessly position themselves in front of a window, turning their visage into nothing more than a head-shaped silhouette, Google will automatically adjust contrast and brightness levels to remedy the situation. Video calls will also default to HD, regardless of whether you’re on mobile of desktop.
Hangouts on Air also gets updated where you can now create a dedicated landing page on your broadcasts which integrates with Google+ events, hosts a countdown timer and lists RSVPs. Hosts can even post a trailer or run pre-show Q&A sessions.
The update will start rolling out over the next several days (as usual), while the new On Air features are expected to take several weeks to finish before rolling out.
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