This version of Hangouts has been rumored for quite some time, but now it's finally here. This is Hangouts v5.0, which appears to be mostly about bug fixes and with Hangouts there's a lot of bugs to fix. This version of Hangouts is supposedly fixing the broken GIF support that happened in Hangouts v4.0. Other than that, most of the fixes are behind the scene. But you should hopefully see a few less crashes, and a few less annoyances, in relation to bugs in Hangouts for Android. There are a few other subtle changes in Hangouts, and we mean real subtle. There is a checkbox that's a slightly different shade of green, which most people won't even notice.
Hangouts v5.0 should be a bit faster, although that could be a placebo affect, as that has happened before in the past. That will also depend on the device you are using Hangouts on, obviously. The update is available in the Google Play Store now. However, as usual, Google has decided to do a slow roll out with the update to 5.0, so you may be waiting a few days or even weeks to get the update on your device. Luckily, the APK has surfaced, for everyone to side-load on their device.
In the source section below, there is a link to download the APK. Simply download that onto your Android device and then head into settings, go into the security settings and make sure "Unknown Sources" are checked. This way you can actually install the APK. Now you're going to be overwriting or replacing the current version of Hangouts on your device. Tap on the file you downloaded, it will then walk you through installing the APK onto your device. Just let it install on your device, and you should be all good to go. It's pretty simple, however if you do have any issues, we recommend uninstalling and installing the version from the Play Store and holding tight for the update to be pushed to your device. Sometimes you can run into issues when side-loading updates, but it is pretty rare.
Download: Hangouts v5.0