Google Redesigns Hangouts For iOS, Adds Video Messages And Animated Stickers

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Google today launched a new version of its Google+ Hangouts for iOS app. This new version is the first to be fully optimized for iOS 7, with a new loading screen and menus, cleaner look, different typography and a couple of new features, too.

You can now, for example, attach a map with your current location to your conversation, something that’s been available in the Android version for a while. The new version also features about three dozen animated stickers. None of them, however, look especially interesting. In addition, the app now also lets you record and send video messages of up to 10 seconds long.

The new version is also fully optimized for the iPad, Google says, and now includes picture-in-picture video calling on Apple’s tablets.

It’s no secret that Hangouts is now one of the more important products in Google’s portfolio. While it grew out of the Google+ projects, Hangouts has now found its way into many other Google products and it’s likely among the tools the company will focus on going forward, especially as the mobile messaging wars are now starting to heat up after the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook.

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Besides Hangouts, Google also today released a very small update to Google Maps for iOS. The only major change here is that you can now choose multiple preferred modes of transit when you plan your routes.