Use Hangouts on Android? If so, you’re going to want to snag the v7.0 update, which is now rolling out.
Included with this Hangouts update is quick reply support. With this feature, you can reply to incoming messages from their notifications, meaning that you don’t have to jump into the full-on Hangouts app to reply to a message. To perform a quickly reply, you just tap the “REPLY” button on a Hangouts alert, type out your message, and send it along.
Another notable addition to Hangouts with today's update is the ability to add a conversation shortcut to your home screen. When you’re in the convo that you want a shortcut to, you can tap the overflow button in the upper right corner and then tap “Save to home screen.” You’ll then get a 1x1 widget on your home screen that’ll let you jump right to the conversation in the Hangouts app.
Other small tweaks included in this Hangouts update are a refresh of the share box to make it less Holo and more Material Design, the Hangouts settings menu has gotten Material Design-style sliders to replace their check boxes, and a lighter font has been used in the conversation creator field.
Google has added several new features to Messenger since its launch — including a quick reply like the one being added to Hangouts today — which has lead some folks to feel like Google has prioritized Messenger over Hangouts. Some people still prefer Hangouts, though, thanks to features like its support for both SMS and Hangouts messages. That’s why it’s good to see Google showing some love to Hangouts again with new features like quick reply.
This Hangouts update is now rolling out, so if you haven’t yet installed it, hit up Google Play and see if you’ve got an update waiting for you.