Hangouts has received a pretty nifty update that introduces some interface tweaks along with a long-requested feature: quick replies from notifications. The latest version clocks in at 7.0, and now allows users to compose replies directly from notifications — just expand the notification, tap "reply" and type a short message into the box to send without opening the app.
Another notable addition in the latest Hangouts update is the ability to save shortcuts to conversations directly to your home screen. Simply open the overflow menu in any conversation and select "Save to home screen." Hangouts will then create a 1x1 widget that opens directly to that specific conversation when tapped.
Finally, on the more minor side of things, the settings menu has seen a minor tweak that changes what were checkboxes in previous versions to toggles. Similarly, the sharing dialog box has lost some of its Holo flair in favor of Material Design cues.
The latest version of Hangouts is currently rolling out on Google Play, so it may take a while to show up for your device. However, once you have the update, jump into the comments and let us know what you think of the changes!