Hangouts 4.0 hasn’t been around that long, but according to a tip from Derek Ross, version 5.0 will be launching imminently with a handful of important improvements. Most of the improvements seem to center around speed and efficiency. Ross posted the following list of features to his Google+ profile, suggesting we might see some visual differences as well as performance improvements:

  • Sending messages lag: Gone.
  • Loading conversation lag: Gone.
  • Main screen conversation update lag: Reduced.
  • Hangouts splash screen: Included.
  • Pop-up ‘signed in as’: Now in white.
  • GIFs: They work!
  • Dogfood icon: Removed.
  • Is it coming today: Shrug emoji.

Visual changes include a new Hangouts splash screen as well as making the ‘signed in as’ pop-up white, giving it a cleaner look. What’s more, GIFs now work for the first time, so you’ll be able to annoy your friends and contacts with animated pictures, if you like.

We’re not sure when the update is going to drop, but the last couple of points are a good indication that it’s coming very soon. The Dogfood icon being removed suggests that internal testing is completed and that it’s ready for public use.

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