In the newest migration for Google Hangouts away from its start as a feature of Google+, the messaging service now has its own website at hangouts.google.com, losing its second class status as an add-on to Google+ or Gmail.
This is, by the way, almost identical to the Common Hangouts chrome plugin I’ve used occasionally, although the Google version supports popping out the individual chats, which means they notify you of new activity even if the window is closed.
Jordanna Chord of Google made the announcement on Google+, which did not claim that any new features were being offered. Google announced an updated client for Android a week ago, after releasing a new version for iOS a month earlier. I like the ability to make calls over wifi, and video calls.
Farrha Khan thinks that this step is part of a Google competition with Facebook Messenger, but they are really competing with the entire mobile messaging world, and this just makes it easier for non-Google+ and non-Gmail users to access Hangouts in the browser, although they still need a Google ID.