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Google releases new Hangouts Chrome desktop app

Google has unveiled a new dedicated Hangouts app for desktop called Hangouts Chrome.

The company is calling the new app, which it calls Hangouts Chrome, “A simpler, faster way to use Hangouts on your desktop.”

Google unveiled its new communication app in a blog post with just that title.

The idea is to keep your Hangouts chats – contacts, conversations and all – to hand regardless of what you’re doing on your computer. A line of active chats that sits along the right hand edge of your screen can be readily toggled, and there’s an integrated notification system at work.

Hangouts Chrome sites outside of your web browser, so you’ll still receive your messages even if you’re not browsing. Hangouts chats conducted here will sync across your devices.

The app also brings full voice and video calls to the desktop, and you can now make calls to any phone number in the world on your desktop through the Hangouts dialer feature.

Google Voice users needn’t worry – it’s fully supported through Hangouts Chrome, so you can make and receive calls and get your voicemails and SMS messages directly on your desktop.

Head on over to the Chrome Web Store to download the Hangouts Chrome app for free. Those who continue using the old Chrome plug-in will be invited to try out the new app over the coming weeks.

Google’s announcement comes at a good time, as rival service Skype (which is, of course, now owned by Microsoft) recently launched its own desktop revamp.

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