Google has begun to roll out version 7.0 of Hangouts to users via the Play Store. This update includes multiple bug fixes and security updates, along with a few new features. It also prompts users to switch over to the company’s other messaging app, Messenger, for SMS purposes.
When you first open the app after updating, it’ll notify you to switch to Messenger as your default SMS app. This is in conjunction with an effort to totally eliminate the ability to send SMS messages through Hangouts and make Hangouts it’s own messaging platform, according to a recent rumor. Messenger is a far superior SMS app with a great implementation of Material Design and quick support for new Android features, like Android Marshmallow’s Direct Share.
But that aside, the update does bring some helpful features, like the ability to quickly reply to a message from a notification. If you hit “Reply” on that notification, a pop-up keyboard will appear on your screen with a text field replacing the notification itself. You can type your reply there and send it on it’s way, or if you change your mind and you wanna finish your message in the app itself, tapping a button on the top right corner will save what you’ve already written and paste it into Hangouts.
Hangouts 7.0 also lets you add a shortcut to your Home screen which will bring you directly to any individual Hangout. This is accessible via the options menu in a message.
You can download the new update for Hangouts from the Play Store now.