It's been quite the Summer for Google and the messaging world in general, which has just culminated in the release of Google Allo. Earlier this year, during Google's I/O developer conference, Google introduced the new Allo and Duo messaging apps, the former is more akin to that of iMessage and Facebook Messenger, whereas the latter makes it as simple as it can be to hold a video call with someone. Of course, Google has a third messaging app on Android, one that's been around for a while, having been born out of the ashes of Google Talk. Hangouts will continue to hang around with Allo and Duo available, and perhaps as a sign that they're sticking to their word, Hangouts on Android has recently been updated to version 13.0.
This isn't a huge update, but it does bring Hangouts more inline with the latest versions of Android, now supporting Chrome Custom Tabs. Essentially, Chrome Custom Tabs, are a way for apps like Reddit, news apps and now Hangouts, to open a URL within its own app, but also leverage Chrome. Prior to this, a user that clicked on a link would either have been taken to the Chrome app, or the app would use the outdated WebKit browser at the heart of Android. In the new version of Hangouts, which may or may not have hit your device yet, users can head on over to the Settings to enable "Browse with Hangouts", which means that links you click on will now open within Hangouts, but they will use the Chrome rendering engine. This is a lot more secure, as Chrome is updated much more often, and it also supports different colors to blend in with the content you've clicked on.
If nothing else, this update should make it much easier to avoid piling up tabs within the Chrome app itself, as users can now open and view this content within Hangouts itself. Plus, it looks a little nicer, especially if you're constantly sharing links between each other all of the time. The update will be rolling out to users gradually over time, and should be available for most people in the next few days.