Google yesterday released a new version of Hangouts for Android that will finally allow users to merge SMS and Hangout conversations. Mike Dodd, an Android software developer made the announcement in a Google+ post.

Up until recently, SMS and Hangouts (including instant messaging, audio chats, and video conferencing) from the same person were displayed in different threads. Starting with today's release of Hangouts 2.1 users will be able to control whether a message is sent through Hangouts or SMS with the flip of a switch. Different message types will be easy to tell apart in the conversation, and if you don't like the new merged view, you can easily revert back to the old format and keep things separate.

In addition, the new update will also simplify the contact list, which will now consist of two main sections: people you Hangout with and phone contacts. This will not only make navigation easy, but will also make it easier to use for SMS, the company claims.

The updated app will also add a Hangouts widget for the home screen to enable quick access to recent conversations, and will also contain some performance improvements related to video call quality and SMS and MMS reliability. The app will be available in the Play store this week.