Google brings KitKat keyboard, Hangouts with SMS to Play Store

Google has put a huge emphasis on bringing many of its branded Android apps and services to the Play Store for more users to enjoy without requiring a pure Android device, and two more of them are beginning to roll out today. First up is the new Hangouts app with integrated SMS that the company promised last week, since Google fortunately appears to have overdelivered on the "coming weeks" timeframe. In addition to the much-hyped SMS and MMS integration, it also adds support for animated GIFs, device status (such as your current mood) and the ability to share your location in your conversations.

Additionally, the app for the stock Android keyboard has received an update to version 2.0, which bestows upon it many of the enhancements Nexus 5 users have already experienced; the downside is that Emoji, one of the biggest features added to the KitKat keyboard, will only be available to users with the new OS installed on their device. This admittedly won't do many people much good at the moment, but at least it'll be there waiting for you once more smartphones and tablets get the new version of Android. There are still some benefits to getting the new keyboard if you're still on Jelly Bean, such as space-aware gesture typing, rationalized punctuation that varies with your particular screen size (whether it be a smartphone or tablet) and more. We've got the download links below if your'e ready to update.

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Google brings KitKat keyboard, Hangouts with SMS to Play Store