Today, Google announced that Hangouts 2.1 will be releasing for Android later this week and that users will be treated to a nice list of improvements. The most notable being that SMS and Hangout conversations with the same user will now be merged. Meaning that if you start a conversation with someone over SMS through Hangouts and later resume talking with them through the app’s instant message setup, both chats will be merged into a single log.

If this new feature sounds confusing, don’t worry, you’ll be able to disable it on the fly, as well as switch between SMS or Hangouts with the flip of a switch. Contact lists is also getting a makeover as well and will be broken into to main sections — people you Hangout With and Phone Contacts.

Finally, Hangouts is getting a homescreen widget for fast access to ongoing conversations. This should come in handy for people who use the app as their primary method of communication.

The update is set to hit the Play Store later this week, so be sure to let us know your thoughts on Hangouts 2.1 once you’ve downloaded the refreshed app to your phone or tablet.

(via Mike Dodd)

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6 Responses to “Hangouts 2.1 for Android introduces merged conversations and a new widget”

  1. VOIP and all other Voice features will probably be incorporated into the Phone app come I/O ’14. Maybe vice versa, as Voice has a somewhat recognizable brand. Possibly into Hangouts instead, but imo it’d be too cluttered and less intuitive. A redirect icon for Voice/Phone inside of Hangouts (Like the Hangouts one inside Google+, and Messenger inside Facebook) would be sexy.

  2. wmatthews702 says:

    What about sending SMS’s from hangouts? I really don’t care about anything else!

  3. I just side loaded it on to my Nexus 5! Awesome update! Combining SMS texts and Hangouts messages has been a pet peeve of mine for quite some time! They have also updated the notification sound. It sound a lot more higher pitched like a bell. Also my texts are now green to tell them apart from other messages. Helps a lot when in a large group messaging back and forth! They also put a paper clip icon where you can now take a photo, attach a photo, or attach your location.

  4. No VOIP yet?? iOS has had this for like 6 months now.

  5. darkmx2000 says:

    WAIT! How are you going to focus this update on merging SMS/Hangout conversations BUT! Not fix the issue with a lot of us being able to receive MMS or send it? The Hangout app is starting to turn into a joke for me cause I really want to use it for all my messaging but without MMS its pointless and is why I use Textra.