Google Is Finally Making Hangouts as Good as It Should Be

Today, Google held a little event about updates to Google+ which, OK maybe that's not the most exciting thing. But buried deep in there were some updates to the Hangouts app that are finally helping it follow through on its promise: an iMessage competitor you can put on anything.

First and foremost Hangouts will now support SMS! Hooray! The default Android messaging app is sure to die mighty soon (with an impending Android release, no doubt) and no one will miss it. But even though that might be enough, there's still more. Hangouts now also supports animated GIFs (as well it should) as well as location sharing through Google Maps. And the app is also getting HD video calls across all devices.

There's still no Google Voice calling from inside the Android mobile app, which is what plenty of us were hoping for when Google promised Hangouts as the future of Google Voice. You know, that feature it has on iOS already.

But hey, SMS integration is a big move that folks have been clamoring for since release, and it puts Hangouts head-to-head with iMessage except without being locked to hardware. It took too long to get there, but better late than never. And plus the other little additions, Hangouts is more worth using than ever.