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iOS Hangouts app gets Material Design overhaul, and a host of cool new features

Google has released version 4.0 of the Hangouts app for iOS, which brings a host of new features, and an updated user interface that replicates the Material Design concept introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The update went live through iTunes on June 29, and more in-depth details about the alterations were also shared by Google UI designer Sky Ortiz on Google+. Open the app, and the new user interface is the most striking difference, with its flatter look, solid green colors, a more reader-friendly chat view, and wide expanses of white space.

Related: Hangouts passes a billion installs on Play Store

Open a chat window — where the option to send a Hangouts message, voice, or video call is presented in a pop-up message — and you’ll notice a new menu system at the bottom of the screen. There are four options. On the right is a location button where, like iMessage, you can show friends where you are using Google Maps and Hangouts. This feature has been previously integrated in Hangouts, but the system was flaky and it didn’t have its own button.

Moving towards the left, you get a button to add in emojis and stickers to chats, then an in-app camera view, which neatly replaces the keyboard but keeps the conversation view above it. Stills and video can be shot and shared without leaving the Hangouts app. Finally, there is a new gallery option, where sharing pictures stored on your phone is quicker and easier than before, and now has the ability to send more than one at a time. Additionally, the video chat view has a new look, bugs have been fixed, and the dialer has been refreshed.

Hangouts version 4.0 is available to download from iTunes right now, and is compatible with the iPhone and the iPad. Google has introduced these UI changes to iOS before Android, but according to Ortiz, a similar update for the Android version is coming soon.