With version 2.3 of Hangouts Google introduced some new features, but unfortunately also disable many good things like swiping. Before you could switch between hangout chats, archive chats or delete messages just by swiping. Until they bring back that feature you can downgrade to the last version that supported swiping: 3.1.317
++== Disclaimer ==++
I will explain how to go back to version 3.1.317, which normally is a very harmless process. However, if for whatever reason, things go south, I can’t be held responsible. Please proceed on your own risk. That being said, in 99,9% of all cases, your personal data, messages and settings will be preserved.
First you need to do is to uninstall “Hangouts updates”. That can be done in the Play Store or through settings. On my Samsung this action reversed the version to an old initial state that was shipped with the phone. It will disappear from your launcher or it may change icon. Do not run or click it.
Do not run or start the old version after you uninstalled the updates, because that can potentially do damage.
Now download the APK of version 3.1.317. It is located here: http://hangouts.en.uptodown.com/android/download/74129
After you have successfully downloaded it, move the APK file to your phone. Or, alternatively, surf to the download directly on your phone by scanning this QR code or type this short URL:
http://goo.gl/nOgtgl ( Mind the capitalization )
If everything went right, you’ll have version 2.1.317 of Hangouts. After some initial questions, like if you want to merge SMS with messaging, your old Hangouts icon will re-appear and you can run it as before.
Disable auto updates.
Unfortunately, Play Store will try and update the app again as soon as it does it’s regular update rounds. Go to Hangouts (in Play Store) and press the menu button (bottom left). A pop-up will show a setting “auto update” with a check-box that is checked. Try to disable it. For some reason I could not disable the check-box. Unless you want to repeat the above for every time Play Store does the update, you’ll need to disable automatic updates altogether. This means of-course that you need to update other apps manually. 🙁
You can do that in the settings of Play Store.