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Google Hangouts for Android merges conversations

The new Android version of Google communication tool Hangouts will allow users to merge SMS and Hangout conversations.

Hangouts conversations include instant messaging and audio chats as well as video conferencing.

In the new Hangouts 2.1 for Android, SMS and Hangout conversations with the same recipient are combined into a single conversation, Mike Dodd, an Android software developer wrote in Google+ post Monday.

Users can control if they want to send a message via SMS or Hangouts with the flip of a switch, he said, adding that different message types will be easy to tell apart in the conversation. Conversations can always be unmerged and merged, he added.

Other new features include a simplified contact list that arranges contacts into Hangout and phone contacts, which makes it easier to use for SMS, Dodd wrote. A new homescreen widget allows for quick access to recent conversations, and there are several performance improvements, including better quality video calls, he added.

The new Hangouts app for Android will be rolled out on the Play Store in the next few days.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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