Google Hangouts is a pretty nifty app. We’ve seen how well it handles video chat between individuals and groups of people, with the ability to record, stream and share those chats with ease.
The iOS app, though, has been in desperate need of an iOS7 update, and it’s finally here.
Besides some new menu and loading screens, the iTunes’ app description says you can expect these new features in version 2.0.0:
That’s right, with this new update Google seems to be taking a stab at Instagram Direct, which was introduced late last year and lets users of the social photo-sharing platform send photo and video messages straight to each other.
After Google lost out on the recent acquisition of Whatsapp to Facebook — even after it asked to know about any approaches Whatsapp had — Google Hangouts’ importance as its instant messaging contender becomes all the more pressing.
Despite Google Hangouts’ prevalence thanks to Android’s penetration in the market, we’ll have to see whether it has enough to compete with not just the popular services in Facebook’s arsenal: Instagram and Whatsapp, but also the plethora of other instant messaging apps such as WeChat, Line and Snapchat. It will be interesting to see which messaging service takes a dominant foothold in emerging markets such as Africa and Asia, where the next one billion people to be connected to the internet are predicted to come from.