To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Google updates Hangouts app with combined SMS and IM conversations

Google Hangouts

Google has updated its Hangouts Android app to combine both instant messaging conversations and SMS texts into a single stream per contact

Google replaced the default Android Messaging app with Hangouts for Android 4.4 KitKat, but it was lacking many of the features users have come to expect from other third-party messaging apps. That changed today, when Google updated the app to include, among other fixes, combined conversation feeds for both instant messages and SMS texts.

Whereas Apple’s iOS 7 combines iMessages and SMS texts into a single conversation stream per contact, saving you the need to keep track of multiple conversation threads, Hangouts previously separated the two. That has been fixed in Hangouts version 2.0. Phone contacts and Hangouts contacts are now better separated in the contacts list, to make it obvious when starting a text conversation or IM chat.

Google Hangouts

Other additions in Hangouts version 2.0, announced in a Google+ post by Google’s Mike Dodd, include a homescreen widget that lets you view messages on the home screen without opening the app, the ability to send animated GIF images, and the option to share your location, which device you’re currently using and whether you’re on a call, as well as your current mood.

Reliability and performance improvements were also added, including higher quality video chats and better handling of SMS and MMS messages.

If you have Hangouts installed on your device already it should update automatically, but if you have yet to download the app you can get the latest version from the Google Play Store.

Read more