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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