Hangouts is an extremely powerful communication suite, with support for everything from SMS messaging and Google Voice to usual conversations. This even enabled you to merge chats and view regular messages and SMS in the same ongoing thread. But, Hangouts’ recent rebranding is now leading Google to remove one of these features, SMS integration, in a couple months.

According to an email notification sent to G Suite administrators, posted on Reddit, the tech giant has decided to nix the “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 intimate them about the scheduled removal of the SMS functionality and that they should now switch to a default text messaging for the same.

Credit: Android Police

This change could be a little complicated for Google Voice users on Android. Those using Hangouts for Google Voice services and not carrier SMS messaging will have to make the switch to a default texting app, whereas users who send SMS messages using their Google voice numbers will able to continue to enjoy the existing experience. To make the shift intuitive, Google will provide you with a button to ‘choose app’ from the Play Store.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#dd3333″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]SMS support for Hangouts will be completely phased out on May 22[/mks_pullquote]

The messaging tool will remain unaffected for everyone else but will help the tech giant push its testing app — Android Messages — to the forefront. It has recently been laying immense focus on the development of the said application, which bagged RCS support and other handy upgrades just recently. It is now being positioned as the default messaging app for Android.

For those unaware, Google just recently rebranded its enterprise messaging service, Hangouts by breaking it down into two separate clients — Chat and Meet. And this further adds to the growing clutter in Google’s communication stack. The tech giant now has a total five messaging services under its umbrella — all focused on different but singular goals. And six, if you’d like to club Android Messages under the same.

Google has now segregated its consumer and enterprise strategy and plans on offering video and messaging capabilities through two separate apps. The former is being handled by Duo (which added audio-only calls yesterday) for consumers and Meet for enterprises, while the latter brings Allo and Chat for these set of individuals respectively. It’s pushing two separate apps to the battleground to take on Slack or Microsoft Teams in the enterprise and WhatsApp or Messenger in the consumer space.

And the Hangouts app is sticking around, along with the recent relaunch of the Google Voice app. Phew, that’s a lot of messaging app to handle for one tech giant. What is your opinion on the removal of SMS integration from Hangouts? Comment your thoughts down below.

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