It's update Wednesday, and Google is making good use of this one. Earlier today the company showed off the new version of Gmail with a card-based UI in the conversation list, and now it's Hangouts' turn to get a nice little feature bump.

The Hangouts update – which brings the app up to version 1.2 for those who like to keep count – brings about some mighty useful (and oft-requested) features:

  • You can finally see who is on Hangouts! When you start a new Hangout, green icons show who's on, and gray shows who's not.
  • Contacts are now organized by People you Hangout with, Suggested People, and Other Contacts.
  • Long press contacts in the New Hangout screen to hide them.
  • Invites are now above your conversations so they're easier to find.
  • Pinch-to-zoom photos!

hangouts Screenshot_2013-09-25-14-26-21

Of course, this is a staged rollout, so you may have to wait a bit to get it ... or for us to get a hold of the apk. Wink, wink.

Update: Here's the APK for Android 2.3+ (thanks, Jordan Hotmann!).

via +Randall Sarafa