Android fans and enthusiasts who are using Hangouts as their main messaging application integrated into the operating system will be happy to know that Google has just updated the app with lots of new features and improvements.
According to Google, Hangouts 2.1 for Android will be available for download via Play Store beginning today, but due to the fact that this is a staged rollout, not all users will receive the update at the same time.
Anyway, Hangouts users may want to find out some of the most important changes included in this version of the application.
First of all, Google has confirmed that the latest iteration of Hangouts features merged conversations, which means that “SMS and Hangout conversations with the same recipient are now combined into a single conversation.”
Users will now be able to control whether they wish to send a message via Hangouts or SMS with the flip of a switch. In addition, different message types will be easy to tell apart in the conversation, so you will be able to easily differentiate SMSs from instant messages.
The good news is that the process goes both ways, which means that Hangouts users will be able to merge and unmerge conversations if they find it necessary.
Another improvement included in the latest update for Hangouts is simplified contact list, as users will notice that there are now two main sections in contacts: People you Hangout With and Phone Contacts. The new tweak is meant to make it easier to navigate and much simpler to use the SMS feature.
Then, there’s the Homescreen widget new feature, which will allow users to add the Hangouts widget to their homescreen for much quicker access to their recent conversations.
But there is more to it. According to Google, some performance improvements have been added in the update as well, such as better quality video calls, as well as improved SMS and MMS reliability.
Other minor enhancements and bug fix may have been included as well, but no additional details have been shared.
Hangouts users should be notified of the update when it becomes available, but those who do not wish to wait until the latest version appears in Google Play Store, can download Hanguts for Android 2.1 via Softpedia.
The apk file can be easily sideloaded if you do not wish to wait for the update. Keep in mind that the latest version of Hangouts is only compatible with devices powered by Android 2.3 and up.