Update 2: The iOS version fo the Hangouts app is now available on the iTunes App Store. Curiously, the app requires a front-facing camera to be present on the phone, or iOS users will not be able to download it.

Update: The Hangouts app for Android is now available on Google Play. Downloading it is a tricky affair, but we managed to get it installed on a couple of devices by using the Google Play website.

Hangouts is now available on Google Play

Hangouts is now available on Google Play

Google has finally taken the curtains off the much-anticipated new chat app, dubbed Hangouts. The chatting application combines typed conversations, images and video into a single app. The tagline for the app is “Conversations that last, with people that you love”. It will be available from today onwards for iOS, Android and web platforms such as Chrome and Gmail’s own chat client.

Hangouts let you communicate by typing...

Hangouts let you communicate by typing…

You can chat normally by typing, like you would on any other chatting application or service, or you can share images that are automatically stored in albums on Google+. You can also hit a button on the top of the screen to start a multi-user video chat, much like the Hangouts from Google+. The app also has options to delete or save conversations.

The new Hangouts unifies all of Google’s existing messaging and chat services, including Hangouts, Voice, Google Talk and the Google+ Messenger. The move to name the service Hangouts can be seen as an attempt by Google to get even more users onto its social networking service.

...or you can just start up a video chat with everyone

…or you can just start up a video chat with everyone

The service will synchronise all of your chats between all of your devices. It will let you go back through chat history, delete messages and grab files. There doesn’t seem to be any limit on the number of people it is possible to have a group chat with.

Google introduced the platform in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner by poking fun at similar services that already exist but are platform specific, such as Apple’s iMessages or BlackBerry’s BlackBerry Messenger.

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