Hangouts, Google’s integrated messaging app, has received a major update today (to version 2.1.075) that brings in some considerable changes to improve the experience. Chief among them is the addition of a merged conversation list that now combines SMS and Hangouts messages from the same recipient and allows switching between the two via a button in the bottom left corner of the screen.
The update also divides the contact list into two sections: one is People you Hangout With, and the other is Phone Contacts, though selecting from either could be a long process if you hangout with and SMS a lot of contacts. Google has also added a widget for conversations, and touts performance improvements across the app, video call quality, and in SMS and MMS reliability (the app is also smoother and quicker after the update, which is nice to see considering Hangouts has been one of the most unoptimized Google apps.)
The update is currently live on the Play Store, though it will take its time to propagate to all users. A download link for the APK awaits impatient folks below.