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Hangouts for Android update merges conversations

Version 2.1 of Google's messaging app adds the ability to merge text messages and Hangout conversations into a single thread.

Google Hangouts for Android 2.1. Google

Google unveiled an update to Hangouts for Android on Monday that brings some new features, including the ability to merge text messages and Hangout conversations from the same contact into a single thread.

With Version 2.1, users will have the option of choosing either option to send messages "with the flip of a switch," Google engineer Mike Dodd wrote in a Google+ message on Monday.

Users will still have the option of unmerging conversations if they like and should be able to easily distinguish between different message types in the conversation, Dodd wrote.

The update also includes a simplified contact list that is split into two main sections -- People you Hangout With and Phone Contacts -- for simplified navigation and easier text messaging use.

In addition, a new homescreen widget offers quick access to recent conversations, and Google promises improved quality for video calls.

The update is being rolled out gradually to users this week, or can be downloaded immediately from the Google Play store.