While Hangouts is poised to lose some big functionality in a forthcoming update, it will gain more than it loses. Trusted sources revealed to Phandroid that the app will gain quick reply from notifications in its next big update.
This feature was brought to the iOS version in its most recent update so it only makes sense that the Android version will receive similar love. Our source revealed that functionality is similar to the iOS implementation in that you’ll be able to open a quick reply dialog from the notification and type out a message without having to leave whichever app you’re in. It’s a feature that many have been enjoying in Google’s standard Messenger app (which you can see in the screenshot below) so we’re glad it’s being adopted for Hangouts.
Furthermore, the app will bring the ability to place a shortcut to a specific conversation on your home screen. This is great if you have someone or a group of friends you talk to frequently and would rather jump right into the conversation than to click through a couple of menus. It shouldn’t cut out so much time from that process that this becomes a game changing feature, but it’s still nice.
Unfortunately we don’t have an exact timeline on the arrival of the next Hangouts update, but considering it’s currently being dogfooded to Googlers we’d say it shan’t be long. Sit tight, and stay tuned for new information to roll in.