Google is removing the flexibility to send and receive SMS messages from its Hangouts service in Might, based on an e-mail sent to its G Suite administrators. The e-mail, posted in its entirety on Reddit, says that Google will reduce the option from the app on Might 22nd, and will immediate customers to find a new default messaging service beforehand.
Customers of Hangouts’ Android app will see a message from March 27th informing them of the upcoming removing of SMS features. If they’ve another chat app installed,
Hangouts will ask them to select it because the default; if they don’t, the app will direct them to the Google Play Store to discover a new alternative. For Google Voice customers, it’s a little bit extra difficult: people who send provider SMS messages through Hangouts will no longer have the option to do so from Might 22nd, however those that simply send SMS via their Google Voice numbers will be capable of proceed as before.
The change comes as Google shifts Hangouts’ focus, repositioning the messaging service to take on office communications device Slack. Whereas the removing of a function isn’t often cause for celebration, it’s probably a smart move in a world where Google already has a dizzying array of chat apps — including mobile-only video-centric Duo, text-based chat app Allo, and the recently introduced Android Messages. It’s this final app that’s designed to deal with Google’s client SMS service, and it’s probably a good suggestion to download it now, ahead of time, when you’re still using Hangouts to your texts.