But what about Hangouts, you ask? Well, that application isn't going anywhere anytime soon, it would seem. Yet, Google isn't doing it any favors by outing a standalone version of Messenger, an app with very similar messaging features to the aforementioned. Messenger does come pre-installed on Android Lollipop, alongside Hangouts, but now it's available to devices running version 4.1 (or higher) of Google's operating system. As expected, you can use Messenger for SMS and MMS phone functions, in addition to being able to send and receive audio messages. The app is also quite elegant, since it does come with the new Material Design look. If you're running a compatible smartphone or tablet, Messenger is available to download from Google Play -- or you can grab the APK from here.
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Google releases standalone Messenger app for Android