After three and a half years, Google will remove SMS support from their messaging app Hangouts on May 22nd according to an email being sent to GSuite administrators.
Google first introduced SMS integration into Hangouts in November of 2013 when they launched the Nexus 5. More recently Google has been changing the focus of Hangouts into more of a corporate tool – launching two new Hangouts apps focused on video conferencing and messaging. Google also recently revamped their Android SMS client, with support for Rich Communication Services that they see as the natural successor to SMS. These combined moves show that SMS has no real future in Hangouts.
According to the email, a notification to change SMS client will be shown to users prompting them to change their messaging app to one installed on the phone, or if there isn’t one they’ll be directed to Google Play to choose one.
There are some clarifications for Google Voice users, but with the lack of Google Voice function outside the US, it won’t really affect users in Australia
The full text of the email was posted on reddit, and reads:
Last year, we announced several improvements to the most popular features of Google Hangouts, such as the new video meetings experience and better group chat messaging. As part of that ongoing effort, we will be removing carrier SMS text messaging from Hangouts on Android after May 22, 2017.
Note: Google Voice numbers will continue to be supported after May 22. This change only applies to SMS text messages sent and received from carrier phone numbers.
We will prepare users for this change by showing an in-app message beginning March 27, 2017. Here is what users will see:
SMS is moving out of Hangouts 2.png
For SMS users on Hangouts on Android (not including Google Voice)
Users will be prompted to choose another default messaging app already installed on their phone. If none exists, they will be directed to the Google Play store to find a new SMS messaging app. Choosing a new messaging app will not impact existing SMS messages. All messages will be accessible in the new messaging app.
For SMS users using Google Voice on Hangouts on Android Google Voice users who also send carrier SMS messages will need to choose another default messaging app. Their Google Voice messages will be unaffected and will still be available in Google Hangouts.
For Google Voice users on Hangouts on Android Google Voice users who do not use carrier SMS text messaging will not be affected and no notification will be shown.
For non-SMS users on Hangouts on Android No notification will be shown to users who do not have Hangouts enabled as the default SMS messenger app on their device.
What you should do As a result of this change, you may receive questions from affected users. We’ve identified the users (copied below) who will be affected at your domain xxxxxx.com. You can share this Help Center article if users have any questions. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact G Suite support.
The G Suite Team
© 2017 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You have received this important update about your G Suite account because you designated this email address as a primary or secondary contact for mandatory service communications in your Google Admin console profile.
If you’ve been using Google Hangouts for SMS, it’s time to start looking at what’s available; Google’s Messages app is pretty decent, as are Textra, and Pulse SMS and most OEMs include a default SMS app as part of their ROM. If you have a favourite SMS app, let us know which one you prefer.