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Hot on the heels of BlackBerry’s announcement that BBM would soon become a cross-platform experience, Google has showcased its new Hangouts messaging system, unifying iOS, Android and Chrome users all in one convenient place. This revelation makes for an exciting face-off between the major instant messaging services, and it’s fair to say, this kind of feature from Google as been a long time coming.

For an age, Google has had a plethora of communication apps floating around without really tying one down and pointing all of its users in that direction. Things will be much different from now on, though, and with support for iOS as well as its very own Android and the Chrome OS, it’s the biggest statement yet that Google is finally ready to settle down.

Google Hangouts 1

Hitherto, the blogosphere was under the impression this new tie-in would operate under the “Babel” moniker, but with Hangouts already being a buzzword associated with Google, I think the now-confirmed naming choice is a good decision. Furthermore, the term Hangouts has something of a “cool factor”, and when one considers the likes of WhatsApp as being one of the main rivals to this newly unified service, I think it’s important Google takes a youthful approach in order to appeal to the young / teen market.

Google Hangouts 2

Hangouts will eventually replace all of those lurking apps and services like Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and Google+ Hangout to create one central system for easy communication. As well as taking on the likes of WhatsApp, Google is also taking a pop at Facebook Messenger, and with so many new and established services vying for supremacy at this moment, Hangouts may have arrived just in time.

Google Hangouts 3

Having also announced Google Play Music ‘All Access’ at today’s I/O developers conference, in which the company sought to offer something unique by going down the “discovery” route, the Hangout app will also try to change things up from what users have become accustomed to with rivaling services. For example, instead of an outright contact list, Hangouts will display a list of the most recent conversations, bringing a much more SMS-like feel to the fore. Also, if a chat in Hangouts quickly transcends into a group conference, the service will support video calling with up to 10 participants, showing that the original G+ Hangout DNA is certainly not lost.

And yep, the new Hangouts apps are available for download right now and can be grabbed from the links given below:

(Source: Hangouts for iOS / Android / Chrome)

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