Google to pull the plug on Hangouts in 2020

If you’re still using Google Hangouts, you should start looking for an alternative over the coming months. According to a source who’s familiar with the Hangouts internal roadmap, Google is planning on pulling to plug on the messaging platform sometime in 2020. The service hasn’t received any updates in more than a year and Google itself has already mentioned that Hangouts would be repurposed as an enterprise messaging service for its G Suite customers as Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.
While Google doesn’t have a direct replacement for Hangouts, the planned shutdown of the platform isn’t surprising. For the past few years, Google has been leading the charge on RCS which is the replacement for MMS service that’s offered by nearly every service provider around the globe. Android Messages is likely what Google plans to use as its direct Hangouts replacement once the new Chat feature which will allow many of the same features that are built into Hangouts and allow you to send and receive messages on your phone and computer.

Hangouts was never the perfect chat service, but it did become the default platform for millions who relied heavily on Android and Gmail since the service was built into Gmail on the web. While I personally still use Hangouts as my main messaging platform to communicate with friends, family and co-workers, it may finally be time to find a replacement messaging service. Most other platforms have evolved way beyond what Hangouts has to offer, but it’ll be hard living with an alternative service which doesn’t allow you to search through years of archived messages or quickly find images which were sent to you and automatically stored in Google Photos.
Source: 9to5Google
 
 

[Update: Starting to arrive] Google Pixels will be able to save Call Screen transcripts later this year

Update 1: 2018/11/30 3:21pm PST

Google has begun rolling out the Call Screen transcript feature, though so far it appears to be far from widespread. To see if it’s gone live for your phone,

Call Screen was arguably the most impressive feature Google debuted at the Pixel 3 launch event. Google’s AI can answer the phone and ask what the purpose of the call is, providing an on-screen transcript of the conversation so you can decide if you want to talk to them or not. Read More[Update: Starting to arrive] Google Pixels will be able to save Call Screen transcripts later this year was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Show off your Chrome dino-game skills with the arrival of cross-device high score sync

Since 2014, Chrome has featured a delightful little time waster that kicks in when your device doesn’t have internet access. It’s a game featuring a dinosaur that hops over cacti (and, eventually, other dinosaurs), in which your score increases as you progress through a pixelated desert. Until recently, that score was lost when you stopped playing, but as of Chrome version 72, it’s finally saved — and it even syncs between your devices. Read MoreShow off your Chrome dino-game skills with the arrival of cross-device high score sync was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Video of Lenovo Z5S shows us what a camera-hole cutout will actually look like

The “camera hole” looks set to replace the more traditional notch in the future, but we still don’t really know what the concept will actually end up looking like in person. At least, we didn’t until today: Sparrow News seems to have gotten its hands on real-life (if slightly potato) photos and video of Lenovo’s Z5S, which features such a circular cutout. And it looks pretty snazzy.

With Huawei (and potentially Samsung) considering hole-style camera cutouts in upcoming phones, odds are at least one phone in the near future is going to sport one. Read MoreVideo of Lenovo Z5S shows us what a camera-hole cutout will actually look like was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Gboard v7.8 prepares option to clear search history, enhancements to voice typing and clipboard manager [APK Teardown]

 

The latest update to the Gboard app is now out, but it doesn’t appear to be adding any features in this update, or at least not yet. A teardown points to some enhancements to some features we’ve either seen in the past or expect to go live in the near future, including tweaks to the Clipboard Manager, an option to delete search history, follow-ups related to voice typing, and of course, a ton of new languages and localized keyboards. Read MoreGboard v7.8 prepares option to clear search history, enhancements to voice typing and clipboard manager [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Instagram now lets you choose Close Friends to share 'more personal' Stories with

Instagram Stories let you send disappearing messages to your friends, but until now, you had to send them to all your friends. That’s changing now, though, as Instagram has announced a new feature that lets you pare your audience for certain Stories down to just a select subset of your followers.

The feature is called Close Friends. You can add and remove followers from the list at any time; they won’t know. Read MoreInstagram now lets you choose Close Friends to share ‘more personal’ Stories with was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Reddit app updated with in-app purchases for the site's convoluted new coin system

Reddit has made some substantial changes in the last couple of years with the launch of an official app, a new site design, and (most recently) a new system for “gilding” posts. Now, the official Android app is getting a related update. You can now make in-app purchases to get Reddit Coins—up to $100 worth of them.

The IAPs are the main change here, but there are other tweaks in this version. Read MoreReddit app updated with in-app purchases for the site’s convoluted new coin system was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Amazon Music is coming to Android TV, and you can re-register now

Whether it’s a sound bar or an elaborate surround sound setup, a lot of people’s best speakers are attached to their TVs. A lot of people also have Amazon Music, whether or not they realize it; the service comes free with Amazon Prime. Owners of Android TV hardware will soon be able to use those speakers to listen to that music, as a Play Store listing for a TV version of Amazon Music has appeared. Read MoreAmazon Music is coming to Android TV, and you can re-register now was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Report: Google killing Hangouts in 2020, probably launching 8 new messaging services in its place

For the last few years (since Google launched and the effectively killed Allo), Hangouts has been slowly dying. Bits of it have been broken off, and others were outright killed. According to a report by 9to5Google’s Stephen Hall, its days are very literally numbered. The service is expected to shutter in the not-so-far-off year 2020.

9to5Google doesn’t name its sources, but this wouldn’t be an unexpected development. With Allo effectively dead (though technically still functional), it was surprising that Google kept Hangouts around as long as it did. Read MoreReport: Google killing Hangouts in 2020, probably launching 8 new messaging services in its place was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

[Update: Clear skies again] Today's forecast for Google weather includes offline servers with a chance of service interruptions

Update 1: 2018/11/30 12:02pm PST

Google seems to have resolved its weather issues, as forecasts are working just fine for us once again, across both Assistant on phones and Home devices.

If you’re like me, the majority of your interactions with the Google Assistant are questions about the weather. What’s it like now? What’ll it be like tomorrow? Is it raining in Seattle? Right now, though, such questions are going unanswered, as Google seems to be having trouble delivering weather information for many. Read More[Update: Clear skies again] Today’s forecast for Google weather includes offline servers with a chance of service interruptions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.