Google’s popular chat app made the jump to version 5.0 this morning on Android.
Despite the step-up in version number, there’s little in the way of new features here; In fact, Google has actually pared down Hangouts’ feature set. Most notable is the fact the optional 3×3 widget has been retired. If you have the widget on one of your home screens, you’ll see it replaced with a dialogue box that says, “Widget no longer available.”
On the flip side, this version of the app includes several undocumented but appreciated bug fixes and performance improvements. After being broken since the release of Hangouts 4, animated GIFs now display properly.
Some publications are also reporting that Google has polished out lag that occurred when sending a message or loading a conversation. I haven’t noticed a marked improvement using my Android device, but your mileage may vary.