Google+ for Android has just received an update, and now mobile users can start Hangouts directly from their phones.

The Android app — similar to the recently updates iOS version — now sports crisper fonts, larger profile photos, and a more user-friendly home screen.

Now when you launch the app, you’ll immediately see your stream instead of a menu of options. To navigate, touch the stream icon (the house) in the top right corner and a menu will slide in from the side — similar to how Facebook’s mobile app works.

The most useful update is the ability to start a Hangout from anywhere using only your phone. Previously you were only able to join a video chat in progress but couldn’t create a new one. To get started, tap “Hangout” in the new navigation ribbon, add some friends, and tap start.

Other updates include a new navigation ribbon that slides in and out, providing quick access to everything, the ability to download photos directly from Google+ and turn them into wallpaper, and the ability to edit posts inline — just in case you notice a mistake while on the go.

Additionally, you’ll also notice full-screen media in your stream, conversations that fade in, and the ability to +1 content instantly.

Despite Google+’s lackluster engagement, the company is certainly making its mobile apps more appealing to its user base. Whether this will have any affect on growth is yet to be determined. The updated app is available today and can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

[Image credit: MIKI Yoshihito]