Although Google introduced Material Design over a year ago, not all of their apps have been blessed with the updated UI changes. Hangouts is one of these apps, but with some leaked screenshots from the folks over at AndroidPolice, it seems that these changes aren’t far away.
In a few screenshots that were posted last night, Hangouts will receive the Material Design makeover with version 4.0 of the app. Gone is the three column layout, instead opting for a one-screen layout. It seems that there will be a floating action button, which is where you can start new conversations from. Using this FAB, you will also be able to quickly pull up your recent contacts for quick messaging.
There are also other subtle changes in the UI that can be found everywhere. The conversation screen itself has also received an update, with dedicated buttons for emoji, pictures, stickers, and more. The Hangouts 4.0 update also makes it easier for you to change your status, which was somewhat of a pain before.
However, with this leaked update, it seems that Google is finally getting their collective acts together in terms of Hangouts. Hopefully once released, there won’t be any issues with any bugs or anything like that. The whole concept of Material Design has grown on me since its announcement last year. So much so that I wish there were more apps on both iOS and Google that took advantage of the UI concept.
What do you think about the new changes that are more than likely coming to Hangouts? What changes do you think need to be made to make the app better overall, not counting just the UI? Let us know your thoughts about Hangouts 4.0 in the comments below.
The biggest change in practical terms is the fact that it appears they’ve finally standardized the emoji palette between desktop and mobile versions of the app. Unfortunately they defaulted to the desktop “flat” versions which aren’t as attractive as the existing mobile ones, and far behind the nice shading and conversational context of many of the iPhone emoji. I don’t understand why this isn’t a standard library shared by all device manufacturers… when someone sends a message and it shows up as something different from what’s intended, or just as a square (character unknown), that’s a failure of basic standardization.
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