The most recent update to Google Hangouts includes a handful of cosmetic changes, the ability to quick reply from the notification shade, and something new: conversation shortcuts.
The conversation shortcut feature is very similar to Facebook Messenger's chat heads. However, instead of using a bubble that floats on your screen (and over other apps), Google decided that shortcuts will be a round photo icon on your home screen.
To add a conversation shortcut, you'll need to be using Google Hangouts 7.0+. This version is rolling out to devices now, but if you'd like to skip the wait, you can grab a copy at APKMirror. If you're not sure what DPI your device is using, it can usually be found with a quick search of your model name followed by dpi (e.g., Note 5 dpi).
After verifying your Hangouts version, open a conversation with a contact and tap the dots in the top right-hand corner. You will see a new option appear, called Save to Home screen.
The shortcut for the conversation will appear on the home screen with your contact's photo. If you change your mind, the shortcut can be removed by dragging and dropping it in the deletion area of your screen like an app icon.
The conversation shortcuts are really helpful if you are always contacting the same handful of people, but may seem like clutter to some users. What do you think?