Google Hangouts now offers peer-to-peer on Android

Google has released a small update to the Android version of it Hangouts messaging app this week. In an effort to improve the quality of audio and video during calls, Hangouts may now use a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection when possible. This means that users on both ends of the call will be directly connected with each other, and Google's servers will be bypassed.

The company hasn't made it clear exactly what the requirements are for a P2P connection to be utilized, but it's obvious it won't be every time a call is made between users. While the feature is debuting on Android first, Google says it is bringing the option to iOS and the web as well.

The P2P option should drastically improve the call quality of those who've had poor connections in the past, assuming both users are able to take advantage of it. For those concerned about their security, it appears there's no way to get the Hangouts app to actually display another users' IP address.

Google says that in cases where a P2P connection isn't used, the service will continue connecting to the company's servers as it always has. For most users, this likely means they won't notice a real difference in their calls at all.