Mike Isaac

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With Revamped Hangouts, Google Aims to Unify Messaging

Hangout_conversation_AndroidNot one to be left behind in the messaging space, Google on Wednesday unveiled its revamped take on Hangouts, cobbling together a number of the company’s communication tools into one unified system.

Pretty straightforward stuff: You’re able to chat with friends through five different types of Google properties — Gmail, Google+, iOS and Android devices, and the Chrome browser.

Much like Facebook, WhatsApp, Path and the many, many other messaging services available today, you’re able to send cutesy emoji smiley-face icons and photos, save your entire chat history between devices based on one (or more) people, and make video calls.

It’s a logical progression for Google — whose Gmail and Chrome properties have massive reach around the world — and, frankly, it should have happened some time ago. Since Facebook revamped Messages three years ago, the social giant has threaded email, chat and texting into one unified history, and has recently added emojis, as well.

It would have been interesting to see how WhatsApp could have been integrated if Google had bought the massive messaging service, which Google tried to do months ago. Alas, Google thinks it has reach enough across its browser and email marketshare, competing messaging app or not.

Expect the new Hangouts system to roll out soon.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik