Major Overhaul Hangouts 4.0

Google Hangouts went through a major overhaul in its design, resulting in a sleeker interface. The changes were rolled out last month, in August 2015 for Android and a month earlier for iOS devices. The new Hangouts 4.0 continues to have the same green color, with the change being in the floating button for Compose. It makes the interface simpler and brings in a lot of animated flourish, which is its update to the Material Design used in the application.

Messages can also be sent out faster and more efficiently. The drain on your battery is less, and you can now set a custom status message through the app.

Floating Action (FAB) Button

Previously, the app had a separate tab for contacts, but the FAB makes sense, as the main action of the screen is for conversations. You have options, such as frequent contacts, starting new groups, sending an SMS or having a video conversation as well. The button remains in a corner, but you cannot scroll to make it go away or get it out of the way of blocking a few words of the latest message.

The older FAB used for sending messages is no longer present, but the FAB for starting a conversation with a new group remains.

Gentle Alerts and Reminders

The new Hangouts 4.0 has made a huge change by alerting the user to the ongoing setting, such as the account from which they are sending a message and notifying the user if notification has been switched off during a conversation. The main screen shows a snack bar reminding the user about the account in which they are logged in. Even when you are in a conversation, a message comes down from the toolbar to show such information, alerting you that notifications have been turned off.

You might eventually get tired of seeing these alerts, but it is very useful, especially for users who have several accounts. They have to ensure the account into which they are logging before they start a new conversation. However, it is not of much importance for users having a single account.

Minimal Features

The new design of Google Hangouts app shows a lot of restraint, in as much as it does not include anything unnecessary. For instance, there is restraint in color, with the FAB no longer appearing in a bright green. The FAB within the conversation is also smaller, with the emoji button also exiting from the Compose bar. An outgoing message appears in gray and not in green. The reminders have a more subtle color scheme and minimal text, rather than their bright predecessors.