Google merges text and chat messages in Hangouts

Google has revamped the Hangouts app for Android. From now on, text messages and Hangouts are in the same conversation in chat communication, while Google has also tinkered with the display of the contact list.

With the inclusion of text messages in the conversation list, Google is further extending the integration of text messages in Hangouts. The renewed Hangouts, which carries version number 2.1, is not yet available in the Play Store. Users will receive the app in the coming weeks.

The app now shows conversations with a person via SMS and Hangouts in the same window. In addition, Google promises that it will be easy to switch between sending a text message or a normal Hangouts instant message.

Hangouts also has a new contact list in version 2.1. Up front there are two sections: a section that lists people who use Hangouts and a ‘normal’ contact list with phone number. According to Google, this view is easier to use, including for sending text messages.

Another innovation is the addition of a Hangouts widget. It can place an Android user on the home screen and access recent Hangouts sessions. Furthermore, Google promises that the app will be more stable in this release and that the video quality during webcam sessions has been improved.

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