Hangouts hasn’t had the best of starts. With a non-update ‘Open’ button, as seen in the image above, many users had to figure out for themselves that the update (which replaced Google Talk) could be got through the web. Many users became frustrated by this, and a quick look at the Play Store rating at 9pm today where I am in Ireland (which is about 1pm Pacific Time), shows that the app is receiving a very mixed review from users. By my own browsing, it looks like many were expecting the new service to do a lot more, while others simply didn’t want to let of Google Talk. Totally understandable, but talk of Babel, Babble, and later Hangouts has been around since at least the springtime.
Now that many people have received the update, there were reports of Hangouts not working correctly on many tablets, including the Nexus 7. That issue seems to have been solved by the update to v18.104.22.1688536, which will fix the support for tablets. If it still doesn’t appear in the Play Store on your device, or if the ‘Update’ button is missing, you can update through the web on all of your Android devices by hitting the Play Store button down below.
What caused these teething problems? Dan Morrill, an Android engineer, has explained that this happened due to an unfortunate bug to do with telephony-related permissions. Another Google employee, Ben Eidelson, confirmed on Google+ that Google+ Messenger will soon be merged into hangouts once chat history is migrated onto Google’s new service. Also, if you go to your Google account settings overview, you’ll notice that there’s a nice setting called ‘SMS for Hangouts’, a de facto confirmation that SMS integration is coming to Hangouts also.
All of this integration could see Google go on to build Hangouts as one of their core services, and it will surely play an important role as part of Google’s broader ecosystem when the company launches Glass to the general public, possibly in late 2013, or early 2014.
Have you had any teething problems with Glass on any of your Android devices? Have these updates solved any of those initial problems? Let us know in the comments.