Google introduces Hangouts 2.0 for iOS

Google is desperate for you to love its Google+ service and associated products, so redesigns and new features shouldn't really come as a surprise. It looks to have done a good job on Hangouts 2.0 for iOS, the first proper update for the app since its launch on Apple's platform.

The big thing here is that Google Hangouts is now fully optimised for the iPad, so if you use Apple's slate (and Hangouts), an update is a no-brainer. But it's not all about being nice to Apple's bigger screens, although the two-column layout is rather nice and the picture-in-picture video calling useful.

Google has also introduced animated stickers, which means you now have the rather nifty feature of adding 10-second video messages when your friends or acquaintances are offline. Lots of fun. On top of that, you can send out a map of your current location on both iPhone and iPad, which might be a pretty useful addition too.

Messaging is big business right now (see the WhatsApp sale to Facebook for evidence of that). Google seems to be going about its business pretty steadily with Hangouts, adding new features and generally making it a more appealing product. We're liking what we're seeing - and if people decide that a Facebook-owned WhatsApp isn't for them, Google might be there to pick up the pieces.

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