Google is set to release an update to their Hangouts messaging service starting this week. The update to version 2.1.075 brings new features, with the biggest ones being merged chat and SMS messages and a home screen widget. Here's a complete breakdown of the new features you can expect.
Now Hangout and SMS threads will be combined for the same contact, with Hangout chats showing a green background, while SMS/MMS messages have the standard white background. You can also easily switch the type of message on the fly.
The new contact list will seperate in to two sections, People You Hangout With and Phone Contacts.
A brand spanking new widget is ready for placement on your homescreen. Simply select the account (if you have multiple) and it's ready for use. The scrolling widget will allow you to view the latest messages, and tapping a conversation will launch you directly into that thread.
Backend improvements to video call quality as well as SMS/MMS reliability are included.
While the update will roll out in stages, we've got a copy of the latest version for you that you can install right now, thanks to our friends at Android Police. Just make sure to have "Unknown sources" enabled through the Security tab on your device settings, then install like normal.