Hangouts 2.3 Brings Free Voice Calls and a Refreshed UI

Hangouts 2.3 Brings Free Voice Calls and a Refreshed UI

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When Google launched Hangouts last year, it was marketed as a messaging and a video calling service, which allowed you to quickly send a message anywhere in the world or start a group video call at no cost. The service caught on quickly, complemented by its ease of use and the growth of Google+. And since then, it has accumulated a large user base as it stands. Over time, it went on to integrate SMS functionality as well, a step closer to the unification of all of the company’s communication services.

Earlier today, Google announced Hangouts v2.3, which takes the service even closer to the goal of unification by integrating free voice calls. The calls work over the Internet using VoIP, and will be available on Android, iOS, and the Web. The calls integration is complemented by the addition of a dedicated dialer app.

In terms of its user interface, Hangouts has received a large makeover, opting for a colored Action Bar and a traditional tab-based layout to replace its earlier monotone look accompanied by an unorthodox panel. The swipe actions are gone, replaced by traditional long presses and the navigation drawer makes an appearance for account switching. All in all, 2.3 is a rather refreshing redesign.

As always, the new version is currently being delivered via a staged rollout and may not be available on the Play Store for you just yet. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK right here so that you can install it manually if waiting isn’t your thing.

[Source: Official Google Blog | Thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the heads up!]