Finally, Hangouts turned to P2P connections for better quality calls that might just give the messaging app the boost it need. It’s facing very capable competition.
- Hangouts has fallen behind its competition, such as WhatsApp
- Google has been making several improvements to the service
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) connections allows direct link between users
- Data packets will no longer be rerouted through Google’s servers
For a long time, Google has been trying to make improvements on their Hangouts messaging app that would hopefully make their app more popular. There’s fierce competition to defeat, with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger taking over the digital world of instant messages. There is hardly room for anyone else, and Hangouts has been falling behind. However, the tech giant has been working hard on improvements.
With Hangouts 7.0, users will now be able to use peer-to-peer (P2P) connections. That will improve the video and audio quality of calls between users, due to the more direct transfer of that. Without P2P, the calls had to be rerouted through Google’s servers, starting from caller to receiver. That meant the packets of data were transported for longer distances, instead of creating a direct link between the two users.
The new inclusion of peer-to-peer protocol, however, will fix quality issues with Hangouts. It will arrive with much better and clearer connections, both video and audio. However, Google stated that this will not always be the case. In fact, the P2P connection will only be made “when possible”, so it’s not guaranteed that their update will be constantly felt by users. The company also did not mention what condition that implies, so an instant and constant improvement shouldn’t be expected.
While the update is said to be rolling out soon, some Reddit users claimed that they have already received a notification of the new feature.
It’s excellent news for Hangouts users, but Google also issued a warning. The update will arrive with better performing peer-to-peer connections, but that exposes a bit of a risk for users. The P2P connection also means that users will know each other’s IP address. It’s a source of concern for some, considering that hackers could potentially detect a user’s location through it. While that won’t be showed to the average user, skilled attackers might find a way to get a hold of one caller’s IP address.
It can deem some vulnerable to several attacks, such as DDoS-ing (denial of service). So, Google has warned you.
For now, the P2P connection on Hangouts is available only for Android devices, but it’s likely that an update will roll out for iOS as well. It remains unclear for now if it will remain as a mere option. For example, those overly concerned about having their IP address displayed might want to opt out.
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