One of the things that makes Facebook Messenger so much fun is the inclusion of GIF keyboards. Right in your conversation, without opening any other app, you can add a colorful GIF to your conversation to get your point across.
Version 15 of Google Hangouts finally adds this support, but there are a few things you need to know.
First and formost, this is for Android right now. That means no iOS or Chrome Extension support for now. While that may be a bit of a bummer to some, there’s another caveat that will actually make it less painful.
Only users on Android 7.1 can use this feature right now. That’s right: 7.1.
If you are keeping tabs, that’s a really, really small slice of Android users. So those of you on iOS or in the Chrome Extension, don’t feel so bad. This feature is super-limited for the moment.
However, for the small portion of you that CAN use this, here’s what you need to know.
- First, you need to be using a keyboard that supports GIFs. Google Keyboard works just fine.
- As mentioned, you need to be on Android 7.1.
- You also need the latest version of Hangouts (15.0.138664688). You can DOWNLOAD it here if you don’t want to wait for the update.
- You need to know how to use it. Simple. In your keyboard, simply hit the little emoji button next to the space bar and you will see GIF to the right of the space bar. Hit that and you can perform a quick search or just pick from what is already on offer. Additionally, the GIFs you use are shown quickly next time you bring up the GIF section of your keyboard.
While Allo and Messenger already have this feature, it is interesting that Hangouts now supports this as well. As Google is seemingly relegating Hangouts to the enterprise sector, the addition of GIFs seems a bit off as they aren’t exactly ‘professional’ in nature. But, it does bring Hangouts into parity with Google’s other messaging apps, so that is worth something.
Either way, it is encouraging to continue seeing movement and development on Hangouts as we and many of our readers are big fans of the app.
With any luck, we’ll see this hit the Chrome Extension as well. Shouldn’t be too difficult to add it as an emoji choice. As Facebook Messenger has this option on the web version, I don’t see any reason for Hangouts not to include it in a future update.