Context permeates chat

Hangouts for Android gets smart suggestions, location sharing

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Watch for an update to Google Hangouts in the Play Store today: Google announced on Wednesday morning that a new version of the mobile chat and SMS app is rolling out. Aside from minor visual features — stickers and video filters — the app gets a little smarter.

For starters, when someone asks “where are you?” during a chat, Hangouts will automatically surface a “share my location” button. Tap it and you’ll see a map of your surroundings where you can choose for Hangouts to share your actual [company]Google[/company] Maps location.

hangouts share your location

Of course, that’s just an option; you don’t have take Hangouts up on it. Google says this type of smart suggestion is “the start of something new,” so I’d expect future Hangouts versions to include action options based on context and conversation — similar to Google Now. The app might prompt you to share your agenda when a friend asks “what time is good for dinner?” or something similar.

This version of Hangouts makes it easier for contacts to find you as well, even without having your location.

You can confirm your phone number in the app so those who already have your number can ping you more easily. Hangouts also adds a “last seen” timestamp for friends so you know if they’re still available or not for a chat. Personally, I’d like the old-school method of setting a status in Hangouts, but maybe I’m in the minority here.

One Response to “Hangouts for Android gets smart suggestions, location sharing”

  1. Sounds like cool stuff. Personally, I grew a little frustrated with Hangouts and switched to the Google Messenger app for SMS. Maybe this is the beginning of much needed attention being given to the Hangouts app.