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Google Hangouts v16 update removes Contacts button, improves search

Some simple but effective changes make the Hangouts v16 interface more concise.

Published onJanuary 27, 2017


In the latest Google Hangouts update, Google has removed the Contacts options from the side menu and as improved the way search results are displayed.

Hangouts v16 began rolling out earlier this week and introduces some bug fixes alongside the more noticeable changes mentioned above. To begin with, the Contacts option from the navigation is gone: it hasn’t moved elsewhere, it’s just not necessary anymore — your recent chats are displayed on the main screen and you can find a contact with the plus button at the bottom right.

Which brings me to the second change. In Hangouts v15, when conducting a search, contacts were divided into two groups: Frequent and Your Contacts. In v16, you have three options: Frequent, On Hangouts and Not on Hangouts.

Google says the change makes it “Easier to find the right contacts quickly”. It might to some extent, but what it certainly does is make the interface cleaner. Contacts only appear in one of the lists now, so if someone is On Hangouts, they won’t also be seen in Frequent, as they did before.

It’s not a huge update, but the simple changes should be appreciated by regular users.

Recent updates:

GIF Keyboard

November 29, The GIF keyboard made its debut in the Android 7.1 Developer Preview on Google’s Messenger app. The same keyboard is now available in Hangouts v15 and can be accessed by tapping on the smiley icon (if you’re running Nougat) where the GIF option will now appear.

App Shortcuts

November 1, Support for Android Nougat’s App Shortcuts feature has now rolled out to Hangout. Long press on the Hangouts app icon on your home screen while on Nougat and shortcuts for different tasks will pop-up, taking you straight to the voice or video call menus, or to your chats.