Google has updated the Hangouts app for Android. Called Google Hangouts 2.1, the new version brings merged conversations, ability to add Hangouts as a widget on home screen, and improved performance in terms of video calls and messages.
Available for download sometime during this week, the new app merges SMS and Hangouts conversations from the same user in one place. With merged conversations, the app will give you a choice between SMS/MMS or Hangouts when contacting the recipient. Also, if you find this to be cumbersome, conversations can be unmerged as well.
Also, the new app brings a simplified version of the contact lists. So now you have people who you Hangout with, and phone contacts on the list. Google says that there has been an improvement in SMS/MMS reliability as well as in video quality, with the new app. And top it all, there will be an inclusion of a Hangouts widget, which can be added to the home screen for quick access.
However, it is still not at par with Apple’s iMessage, which automatically first attempts to send a message as an iMessage and then fall backs on SMS, without the user’s intervention.