Desktop Hangouts Update Includes New Dialer and Notification Feature

It has been a good week for android updates so far. Yesterday we saw a good deal of updates rolling out for Nexus devices, in particular the Nexus 6 and 4. We also saw updates rolling out to Android Wear and also a number of updates landing for various Google apps and services. It seems there was another one which landed much more quietly than the others though and as such is one that you might have missed. Hangouts on Chrome OS has received an update. The changelog does not list much interesting, but don't let that fool you. There are two very interesting additions you should be aware of and can take advantage of now.

First up, there is a new dialer icon which has popped up on the Hangouts side menu (you know the green one). You can see in the image above Hangouts now includes the third tab running along its top. Clicking on the dialer icon automatically launches Hangout calls, similar to how it does on the mobile version. This allows you to make domestic calls for free and if you have the credit, then calls internationally are possible too. The second main addition to note is the inclusion of a message notification feature and this one actually works rather well. As you can see in the image below, notifications swipe in from the right-hand side. The pop-in shows the message (along with the sender) in view. You can instantly reply to the message by clicking on it or let it go and it will disappear in due course. Again similar to how heads-up works on the mobile.

So, all in all, two very neat features. If you haven't seen the update hit your Hangouts yet then don't worry. It is there and is just hiding. To get it up and running simply close down Hangouts completely (do not minimise,  but close) and reload the app from the taskbar. Once it reloads you will see the changes start to take effect. You will also need to make sure 'always on top' is deactivated in the Hangout's settings for the notification update to work. If you have already seen the updates land, then what did you think? How do you like the new desktop dialer icon and side-swiping message notifier? Let us know.


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About the Author

John Anon

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]