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Google+ dropping Messenger from mobile apps in favor of Hangouts

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Gallery Photo: The new Google Hangouts (photos and screenshots)
Gallery Photo: The new Google Hangouts (photos and screenshots)

Google's new chat service, Hangouts, was meant to unify the messaging experience across all of the company's services, and today it's getting a step closer to that by beginning to put an end to the now-redundant Messenger service on Google+. Messenger will be leaving Android in an update to the Google+ app that's rolling out today, and it'll be removed from the iOS app at a later date. Naturally, the retired service will be replaced by Hangouts on both platforms.

Old conversations can still be saved

After the introduction of Hangouts, Google said that it would be leaving Messenger around until it could find a way to bring users' conversation histories over to the new service. It's not clear if that'll be happening, but Google does say that users will be able to download an archive of all their old conversations through Google Takeout.

Today's Google+ app update is also bringing a few other features to the service on Android. Users will now be able to grab photos and videos directly out of their Google Drive to share them on Google+. The update also enables users to switch between multiple accounts without having to log in and out every time that they want to change profiles. Pull-to-refresh is coming to Google+ as well, which should make refreshing your feed a little bit less of a hassle.

Update: Google says that the new Drive integration is a bit more robust than just the sharing features that it's brought to Android. Starting today, users will be able to choose to have all photos and videos stored on their Drive also be viewable inside of their Google+ libraries. The photos will remain private until they're explicitly shared, and Google will use its new tools to automatically enhance the photos as well.