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Google Hangouts 2.0 is here with iOS 7 design, iPad optimization, animated stickers, and more!

Google Hangouts, the combination instant messaging (IM), video, audio, and VoIP calling app for iPhone and iPad, has been updated to version 2.0. That means an iOS 7 make-over, iPad optimization, 10-second audio recordings, and most importantly — animated stickers! (Joking! The most important update is the ability to vanquish the appalling shake-to-send feedback non-feature!)

The original Hangouts on iOS is a mixed blessing. It's amazing for group messages since you can tell who in the group has actually seen your messages. It's also incomparable for video conferencing, easily handling multiple participants at once (and for free). Yet at the same time it feels like a web app in a thin native wrapper. Hangouts 2.0 fixes some of that. It's not perfect yet — some of the interface is directly manipulable, some of it isn't. That it's getting better is a good sign, however.

Google still values iPhone and iPad owners' attention and since communications is the hottest thing in mobile right now — just ask WhatsApp, it's where a lot of developer attention will go as well, big and small.

If you've tried Google Hangouts 2.0 on your iPhone or iPad let me know what you think of the update!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • The best part of the WhatsApp acquisition is all the various IM clients being updated with more features.
  • But the real question is have they finally solved the issue of Hangouts having absolutely horrendous battery life, even WITHOUT voice or video chat? Now that Beejive has fixed the push notification freeze bug (earlier today, ironically), what is my incentive to give Hangouts another try? With the last version of hangouts, I'd finish the day with less than 40% battery remaining and I'd lose a percent for every minute I spent in a text chat. Beejive, I finish the day with 60% and only lose a percent every few minutes - believe it or not, it all adds up. That said, I'd love to hear Hangouts no longer has battery issues. I like the UI and it would go nicely with my native chat apps for BB (BBM) and Microsoft (Skype).
  • It seems minor but seeing the iOS 7 keyboard pop up is immensely gratifying, especially since that's what I'm looking at in this app 75% of the time. Sent from the iMore App
  • Definitely not minor. This drives me crazy
  • The UI on the iOS 7 keyboard is such an incredible improvement that it's hard to believe the old keyboard was just one iOS version ago. Sent from the iMore App
  • I've been waiting for this redesign. It's been a long time coming. Very nice and the touch targets are more finger friendly. Now, whether or not messages load up properly upon opening the app is too be seen. Same for any battery life impact.
  • I'm in a couple of large, active hangouts and I don't seem to notice a battery drain on my 5s. I really like this update. We've tried them all and hangouts is the only one left standing. (gotta love the steaming pile of manure sticker)
  • Where's the settings? LOL
  • I found it.
  • I hope this is not happening to others but after I updated to the revamped update for IOS 7 on my iPhone 5S, it worked well as I chatted with a friend but after logging out complete and turning it back on a couple of hours later, the app would leave me with a blank/black screen. I deleted the app and re-installed it but it didn't fix the problem. I'm back in the DARK. Any thoughts or ideas as to why this is happening?
  • Update on my comment a minute ago. The screen turns blank before it reaches the log on screen. The screen took a little longer due to the fact I had terrible data connection in the building. : )