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Google Hangouts update rolling out, merges SMS and Hangout conversations

A new update is now rolling out for Google Hangouts, bringing better SMS/Hangouts integration among several other changes.
April 21, 2014

Google is rolling out a new update to Hangouts today, which includes several changes such as a new feature that allows SMS and Hangouts conversations to merge together under one place for each of your contacts. There’s also simplified contact lists and much more.

To get a better idea of what’s different in the latest update, here’s a change-log noting some of the biggest changes, courtesy of Google engineer Mike Dodd:

  • Merged conversations: SMS and Hangout conversations with the same recipient are now combined into a single conversation. You can control whether you want to send a message via Hangouts or SMS with the flip of a switch, and different message types will be easy to tell apart in the conversation. Of course, you can always merge and unmerge conversations if you’d like.
  • Simplified contact list: now there’s two main sections in contacts — People you Hangout With, and Phone Contacts — making it simpler to navigate, and easier to use for SMS.
  • Homescreen widget: add the Hangouts widget to your homescreen for quick access to your recent conversations.
  • Performance improvements: today’s update includes better quality video calls, as well as improved SMS and MMS reliability.

In Google’s usual fashion, it may take a few days before the update reaches everyone — though you can always check Google Play just in case. For those that have already received the update, what do you think of the changes? Anything else worth mentioning that isn’t in the (unofficial) change-log noted above?