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The Hangouts Chrome extension is getting a familiar makeover
While you’re waiting for Allo to launch – or you’re video-calling one of the other five million Duo users – Google is still giving Hangouts a fair shake.
The company announced an update to the Hangouts Chrome extension interface that will make it very similar to the Hangouts Chrome app interface. After the update the Chrome extension will feature the same tablet-style interface as the Chrome app, with a permanent contact list on the left side and the conversations on the left (see the screenshot above.)
Google says the change will make the experience of group chats more consistent and easier to navigate.
New Google Hangouts users will see the new interface starting August 31, and existing users will be given the option to switch starting the same day. On October 15, the new interface will kick in for every user of the Hangouts Chrome extension.
Seeing that Google is shutting down the Chrome app store for everyone except Chrome OS users, it will probably focus on the extension from now on. As for the Hangouts service itself, its future is uncertain. When Allo was announced back in May, Google denied that it would replace Hangouts, but the writing was on the wall. More recently, Google said that Hangouts would be retooled as a corporate messaging app.