Google is streamlining its messaging apps – or so they say.
Hangouts will no longer support SMS texting, the company announced along with several other updates in a blog post on Friday. As previously reported, hangouts will be split into Meet and Chat. Google Talk, the company’s outdated chat service, is finally being fully transitioned to Hangouts. The company is also killing Google+ circles and some Google Labs plugins.
While this shouldn’t impact iOS users much, The company recently renamed and announced Android Messages (formerly Messenger) as the default SMS app for Android phones. This came along with more steps toward RCS, a more advanced protocol than SMS. “In the next few weeks, youll see a notification in the classic Hangouts app to switch to another SMS app already on your phone for SMS, or to download Android Messages if one isnt available” the company said in the blog post.
Android users: you don’t need to worry about losing your chat history because it will be imported to Android Messages or whatever app you switch to using. Project Fi users who want to use Hangouts as a default SMS app will also continue to have the option.
One of the best parts of Hangouts for Android users is that they can text someone directly from the browser version of the app, giving them a similar experience to iMessage. It’s unclear whether Android Messages will be able to do this in the future, but it’s not currently available. Google’s other messaging app, Allo doesn’t have SMS capability as of now, but a desktop version is in the works.
For now, it sounds like Google expects users to use Meet and Chat for work, Allo for multimedia messaging, Duo for video calls and Android Messages for texting.