Gmail adds Hangouts tab so you can message friends and email at the same time

Gmail now comes with Hangouts.

Google has updated Gmail across all devices - even the web - so that it includes a new Hangouts tab. This tab will show you which of your friends are online and offline, and you can simply tap or click their name to start sending them a message through Hangouts, without ever having to leave Gmail.

This type of functionality is intended to improve your workflow and productivity. Instead of toggling between different apps repeatedly in order to simulataneously send emails and message with people, for instance, all you have to do is open a single app or webpage: Gmail.

"Starting today it's easier to see which of your chat buddies are currently online," announced Gogole in a Google+ post published on 26 August. "Plus, you can also now pin your favorite contacts (you know, your mom, your BFFL, or your crush) to the top of your contact list."

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Google said the update is rolling out "over the next few days". You should see a button called "try the new Hangouts” under your chat settings to upgrade.

Check out the gallery below for more screenshots of the update.