Google+ Hangouts to gain SMS integration, outbound calls, Google Voice
The new Google+ Hangouts app will soon have SMS integration, though this is likely to be only within Android. The Next Web notes that the permissions list for the app includes listings for reading and sending SMS messages from within the app, something which would bring Hangouts in line with Apple's iMessage app. A message by Google employee Dori Storibeck confirmed that SMS integration is on the way, along with outbound calls and Google Voice features.
Hangouts conversations to carry between iOS, Android, Web
Google has shown a significant number of changes to Google+ at its Google I/O developer event, as part of its attempts to attract users. The redesign of the social network is accompanied by the rumored unified messaging system, branded Hangouts, and the automatic enhancement, editing and highlighting of photographs uploaded onto its service.
Unified messaging service could be formally revealed next week
Google will be unveiling its unified messaging system at Google I/O, according to a report. The name Babel will be retired in favor of Google Hangouts, the same name as its Google+ video-based chat-room system, as the search engine continues to try and encourage its users to use the Google-produced social network and surrounding ecosystem.
Google adds remote desktop feature to Google+ Hangouts
Google+ users can now remotely control a desktop in Hangouts, something suggested by the company to help in long-distance technical support. The feature uses the same background tech from Chrome Remote Desktop, according to Google staffer Daniel Caiafa in a Google+ update. When enabled from the Apps section, Hangouts Remote Desktop will ask permission to allow the other user to control the computer, while still allowing both sides to talk and see each other throughout the control session.
Facebook adds VoIP calling to Android app in US.
Facebook has enabled its free voice calling feature in Facebook Messenger to Android users in the United States and around the world, months after the iOS version. After an initial roll-out in Canada and the UK, the Android version of Facebook Messenger allows users to tap the 'i' button on a contact, and then offers the Free Call option. The sudden release of the feature in the US follows the launch of the Facebook Home launcher, which introduces an Android overlay that allows for greater use of the social network.
Cross-platform system to consolidate existing IM systems
Google is looking towards unifying its messaging platforms into one single service, according to rumors. Called Babble, the new service would provide cross-platform communications between the various Google services, such as Google Talk, Google Hangouts, and Google Voice, replacing them all with a single common method.
Refined single-participant live video broadcasting in Google+
Google has updated the Hangouts feature of Google+ that will help one-person broadcasts. Hangouts On Air will now default to a full-screen single-camera video for broadcasts, instead of showing a large image with a smaller thumbnailed view in the camera roster below, something which apparently has been added after numerous requests from users.