Hangouts 2.1 for Android Improves SMS, adds Homescreen Widget

google hangouts_resultGoogle has thrown a lot of muscle into improving the Hangouts experiences. It’s a one stop shop for group IM, video calling, and it can replace your phone’s stock app for text messaging.

Alongside some bug fixes and performance improvements, Hangouts 2.1 also brings a merged conversation interface for SMS and Hangout IM. This makes it easier to move conversations back and forth between SMS and IM-ing as it’s now all under the same view.

There’s also a new widget to throw on your homescreen to help you keep up to date on all your communication endeavors.

Full press release below, and the Hangouts update is rolling out now on Google Play! So Google, think you can turn some of that attention to Google Voice anytime soon?

Hangouts 2.1 for Android: SMS improvements and a homescreen widget

Today we’re launching the newest version of Hangouts for Android, rolling out to the Play store ( over the next few days. Highlights include:

– 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.

The new version will be available in the Play store ( this week, so download or update and let us know what you think!