Today, Google announced an update to Hangouts that brings some new features. The first mentioned is merging conversations, which brings feature parity with iMessage in that regard. Google has also improved contact sorting with phone and Hangouts sections as seen below, and added a homescreen widget to view messages on the homescreen. Google has also noted some reliability and performance improvements such as higher quality video chats and better SMS/MMS sending and receiving.

Overall, nothing major seems to change with this update, but it does fix some points of friction for those that use the application.

Source: Google

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  • deltatux - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    Finally lol Reply
  • usama_ah - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    It's a great update. No doubt the initial release was frustrating but as with most Google software the continued development pays off in the long run. Performance improved on my Moto X. Reply
  • webmastir - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    I don't believe performance is an issue on newer(even -ish) devices. Anything from like GNexus and before (not just Google's flagship phones - anything with <=1GB RAM) seemed to suffer from poor app performance. Reply
  • cmikeh2 - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    The only time I've seen any real lag within the app on my Nexus 4 is when composing really long messages, about the equivalent of 5 to 6 SMS in the compose box. There seems to be some sort of bug that gets triggered there but other than it works flawlessly. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    Unless I'm misreading the article, this is not new - at least not to TMOB S3 users. My wife merged her SMS into Hangouts in December. I let her be the guinea pig and have declined Google's offers to integrate them at each prompt. So far, she's encountered a few bugs with messages not sending at all and duplicate messages being sent, but overall she likes it. Reply
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    Take a look at the second image; before, Hangouts and SMS chats were separate screens. Now it's a unified chat with a toggle to send text via SMS or Hangouts. Reply
  • rxzlmn - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    The call button is new! There used to be only a video call button. Does it route the call through VoIP or the standard phone app? Reply
  • Ortanon - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    I wonder if automatically sending via Hangouts (or at least the option to) if the recipient is signed in is patented by Apple. Or maybe they're just waiting to creep that in. Or maybe they don't even like that idea. Hmmmmmmmmm. Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    It's not necessarily a bad thing to do it the way Google currently is with Hangouts. I have some people I know who cannot receive iMessages during certain times of the day due to lack of cellular data and with Apple's messaging app you need to send the message then hold down on it and select send as text. Many times it gets sent over my connection faster than I can tell it to send as a text which results in them getting a text and then the same message later as an iMessage when they get onto WiFi. Reply
  • ellroy80 - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    Waiting for them to merge Hangouts and Voice. Must be close now. Voice is handy but it definitely needs work. Reply

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