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(Pocket-lint) - Not to be outdone by Skype's latest overhaul, Google has reworked Hangouts for Chrome OS and Windows.

The company debuted a new app on Thursday called Hangouts Chrome and described it as a "simpler, faster way to use Hangouts on your computer alongside whatever else you’re doing". Thehe app has a design that keeps your contact list and chats off to the side and accessible - sort of like Facebook's Chat Head feature - so you can easily toggle between productivity and communication.

"Also, you’ll get integrated notifications that alert you to new messages, so you can quickly find the conversation you’re looking for," explained Google in a blog post published on 9 October. The company also emphasised the Hangouts Chrome app will work outside of your browser, meaning chats will be always available and not hidden in a window tab.

The new app brings full video and voice features too. You can even make phone calls to any number in the world (via the Hangouts dialer) right from your desktop. And rest assure that everything - from chat to notifications - will still sync across Hangouts on all your devices.

Google's latest app is available, starting today. Existing users of the Hangouts Chrome extension on Chrome OS or Windows will see a promo to try the new app over the next few weeks.

READ: Skype for Mac and Windows don a new look, with better chat experience

Writing by Elyse Betters.