Google has announced a major update for the Hangouts application for Android during its Google+ event. It will be available soon and will bring a number of changes, enhancements and new features. Apart from a few bug fixes, the most significant novelties are SMS integration, HD video, animated GIF support and improved location sharing. The first one was promised a while back and demanded by many Android users. With the new update, users will finally be able to send and receive text messages with Hangouts. It is also possible that Hangouts will become an important part of the upcoming Android 4.4. KitKat update and eventually replace the default messaging app.
As for HD videos, improved image quality will be available to all users and will enable better and more joyful private or group video calls - both from mobile and desktop. GIF support in the message stream is a good addition, too. It sure will be appreciated by users who like to express their feelings with pictures and animated emoticons. Among the redesigned location sharing mechanism, the app will be equipped with a special button that will collect the location data from Google Maps and share it with your friends and family - it's a good way for a friend or loved one to locate you quickly.
The updated version of Hangouts should be available in Google Play Store very soon.