Google's Hangouts went through some pretty big changes recently, bringing forth a new UI as well as some new functionality in the last major update. As of earlier today Google began rolling out a new version of Hangouts to users in the stream of app updates that usually happens on Wednesdays for Google's apps, and while it won't be as big of a change as the last time there are still a couple of notable things for users to pay attention to. It's also worth mentioning that not all people will end up seeing this update today as app updates can take a few days to completely roll out, but we have the apk for you here to download if you wish.
For the most part this update is to prepare the Hangouts application for when Google launches Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which seems to mostly deal with new incoming permission system that Google has set up for the new version of the operating system. In Android 6.0 permission will be much more granular, specifically asking for permission to request access to certain things upon using the app for the first time instead of during the installation process. It's noted that there could be some bug fixes and improvements in this update to the app but that there was no indication of such activity at this moment so more than likely this is just an update which caters to those on devices who will be using Android Marshmallow in the near future.
For anyone else the update will likely perform and look just the same as it did prior to today, so there's probably no pressure to download it ahead of when the update comes in on its own, but the download is there for you if you want it. As a number of strings in the apk seem to center around things to do with accessing contacts, Android 6.0 permissions structure is probably the only focus here with this update. For anyone that won't be on Android 6.0 Marshmallow once it launches, you'll still have the capability to use Hangouts native on Android Wear if you have a device, as the most recent Android Wear update brought along a proper Hangouts app, so although this update to Android app seems to have nothing new for people on Lollipop and below, there's still stuff to be excited about in regards to Hangouts.