Google has confirmed that it is removing SMS messaging support from Hangouts on May 22. In an email to G Suite admins, the company doesn’t provide a reason for the move, but explains that users will be prompted to choose another SMS client when the change comes into effect.
Google added SMS integration to Hangouts back in 2013, allowing Android owners to use the app for traditional text messages alongside Hangouts chats and calls. However, with the release of Android 7.0 Nougat last summer, the company began directing users to its dedicated Messenger client specifically for SMS instead.
Now SMS integration will be ditched completely. In an email posted to Reddit, Google explains that, as part of its ongoing effort to improve the Hangouts service, SMS support will disappear on May 22. Google Voice numbers will continue to be supported; the change only applies to text messages sent and received from carrier numbers.
Google says it will prepare for the change by displaying a message inside Hangouts from March 27, which reads, “SMS texting in Hangouts will soon go away. For text messaging, switch to another app already on your phone.” Users will then be prompted to pick another app by hitting a “Choose app” button.
“If none exists, they will be directed to the Google Play store to find a new SMS messaging app,” Google’s email explains. “Choosing a new messaging app will not impact existing SMS messages. All messages will be accessible in the new messaging app.”
Maintaining SMS support is probably seen by Google as a waste of resources now that the dedicated Messenger app is available, and third-party devices ship with their own SMS client. However, some users have suggested that the move could be an effort to encourage those who have been using Hangouts for SMS to finally switch to Allo.