Oct 29th, 2013

Google’s Vic Gundotra is carrying on with the live Google+ event right now, and the esteemed exec has just announced the great new upgrade to Hangouts we’ve all been waiting for. I’m talking about SMS support, of course. While we haven’t been given many details about the implementation at this moment, we should find out more soon enough. We imagine it’ll work much like iMessages does for iOS, where your Hangouts and SMS conversations are all grouped into the same seamless experience.

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 10.02.08 AM

Alongside that bit of feel-good news, Google has also finally announced support for .GIF moving images, as well as the ability to share your location with your friends and family with one easy tap of the “Places” button (powered by Google Maps, of course).

Google also had exciting news to share about video on the platform. For starters, video Hangouts can now take place in full-screen mode, with full HD quality being available across ALL devices. We were told this was coming before, so it’s nice to know that it’s finally about to go live for everyone. Google has also introduced Auto Awesome for videos.

What’ll it allow you to do? Here’s a quick list to whet your whistle with:

  • It can blur your background and make you, the subject, stand out from the hecticness going on around you.
  • It can brighten up the subject in a video that’s under-exposed.
  • It can give your video a more vibrant look and feel.
  • It can apply an artificial “focus” spotlight to make you stand out from your background.

None of these changes will rock your socks off or make your video completely whacky, but it’s a nice touch for those who aren’t in the most optimal lighting situations or who just want to present themselves on video a bit better.

Google says the upgrade to Hangouts will be rolling out in the Google Play Store starting in the next few days and the weeks after, though they obviously weren’t interested in giving an exact time frame for all these goods. You can bet we’ll keep you updated as soon as it’s out, though, so be sure to stay tuned to Phandroid if you’ve been waiting on this.