Hangouts 11 has been around for a couple of days, but with no official changelog yet, we've had to figure out by ourselves that it enabled video messaging and removed merged SMS and chat conversations. There was another undiscovered feature lurking though, but it was just waiting for a server-side switch to start showing up for users.

Hangouts is adding the option to create and share a link to any group conversation. This, if you recall, is a feature that has been rumored to be coming to Whatsapp for a couple of months already and has been almost live since last month. Well, for once Hangouts is stepping ahead of WhatsApp and adding this new feature first.

If you head over to the People & options setting of a group chat on Hangouts, you'll see — if the feature is live for you already — a new toggle to enable Joining by link followed by an option to share the link to other apps. It may not seem like such a big deal, but this should allow users to invite others to conversations without having them in their contact list on Hangouts first. You have to have a point of contact with them though, because you still need to share that link somehow. WhatsApp was reportedly going to let you print group links as QR codes, which might make even more sense if you want your group to be more accessible to users you can't yet contact through your phone.

You can download Hangouts 11 from APK Mirror if the update isn't live for you yet on the Play Store, and then check to see if invite links are showing for you. They might take a few days to roll out to everyone.