Google removing SMS integration from Hangouts: Here’s why

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Google is known for have a clear and well thought out messaging strategy. 

Yeah, we didn’t think you would buy that. And the tech giant is once again complicating things, by stripping what is a key feature for some out of Google Hangouts. But why are they doing this?

In IT Blogwatch, we text about it. 

So what is going on? Kellex introduces us to the issue:

With Google Voice back in action, Android Messages getting a major push…Allo out here…acting as a punchline, and Hangouts transforming into a 2-piece enterprise solution…we have some clarity on Google’s messaging direction for the first time in years. … LOLZ. No we don’t. We have no idea what Google is doing. What we do know is that Google appears to be making the situation worse…by ripping SMS support out of Hangouts.

But how do we know this? Anmol Sachdeva is in the know:

According to an email notification sent to G Suite administrators…the tech giant has decided to nix…“carrier SMS text messaging” from Hangouts on Android. Users of this default messaging app will start seeing an in-app warning banner at the top, beginning March 27. It will [tell] them…that they should now switch to a default text messaging for the same.

Some people are pretty upset about this. But what made Hangouts so great, anyway? Jonathan Feist tells us why Hangouts is irreplaceable to him:

Unique to Hangouts is the one-stop shop of communication, and the ease with which users can get involved. This is what makes Hangouts priceless…I am never more than a click away from chat, audio and video calls with nearly anyone in my life. … The fact that I can grab absolutely any computing device that I own and pick up an ongoing conversation is priceless. More importantly…I can connect with anyone that has ever used a Google service.

So why the change? JC Torres has some background:

To say that Google’s messaging situation is a mess might be a bit of an understatement. It once tried to consolidate everything under the Hangouts brand…but now it has again exploded into multiple apps and services. To be fair, it is now trying to spin Hangouts as a more enterprise-oriented communication service, which probably explains why it’s making this…change.

So does this affect everyone? Actually, no. Chris Chavez explains:

It’s worth noting that Google Voice users (and by extension, Project Fi customers) wont be affected by this change…Google did recently update the Google Voice, so it’s possible they have more plans for it in the future.

And when is all this going to happen? Abner Li has the timeline:

The transition will begin next week with current users seeing an in-app prompt that asks them to choose another default messaging app…On May 22, SMS features will completely stop functioning in Hangouts.

So what are Hangouts users supposed to do? Tyler Lee let’s us know:

There are already some Google-made alternatives available, such as Google Allo and Android Messages…for those who have gotten accustomed to Hangouts, we guess it’s time to start getting used to another app for your SMS needs.

So how do Hangouts users feel about this? Rolfi sums it up nicely:

Nooo 😭😭😭

This article was written by Rebecca Linke from Computerworld and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.