A new version of Hangouts is soon headed to Android devices. Known as Hangouts 4.0, we actually got a taste of what to expect in a previous leaks and in the iOS app that launched a few weeks ago. Bringing new features like multiple photo uploads and fresh new Material UI, we were able to get our hands on this new version. Aside from that fancy new UI (it looks nearly identical to the iOS version now), the biggest draw for us is its new Android Wear support.
As we saw in previous leaks, the update brings a full fledged Android Wear app which allows users to select accounts, browse and view entire conversations, as well as reply by either voice, emoji, or canned response. What wasn’t known is whether or not Android Wear users would be able to actually initiate a message using an “Ok Google” voice command on their smartwatch. We are now able to confirm in our version, this does, in fact, work.
Simply speaking the phrase, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message to ___” pulls up a “Message?” screen with “Speak now” or “Draw emoji” options beneath it. From there you can simple speak your message and once you’re finished, watch as the screen scrolls past the recipient’s email account, the message, and user’s email account. Of course, there’s an option to cancel out of the message if it’s not accurate or you change your mind.
The app is still being being tested internally (hence the dog print on the side of the app icon), so we can’t provide a downloadable APK at the moment. We’re not going to lie, it’s pretty buggy as is and you wont believe how difficult it was to get everything playing nicely. As far as when we can expect the Hangouts 4.0 update to go live, we don’t know. We’re hearing it was originally scheduled to launch a few weeks ago, shortly after the iOS version (the iOS version actually launched early and was originally slated to go live along with its Android counterpart). We’ll let you know if we hear more.