Google has sent out an email to members of G Suite team informing them about removing SMS support in Hangouts from May. The said email has been shared over Reddit and states that the change will come into effect from May 22. The move is believed to be part of Google’s growing focus on the enterprise segment. Google recently launched a ‘Hangouts Meet‘ for corporate video conferencing. In the enterprise segment, Google already competes with Skype, and is now also facing competition from new products like Slack and Microsoft’s Teams.
Coming back to Hangouts, users who have enabled Hangouts as the default SMS app, will be notified from March 27 regarding the change. Users will also be directed to set another chat app as the default. If the user does not have any other chat app pre-installed, Google will redirect them to Play Store to download another chat app.
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 , the email shared on Reddit said.
Things are a little confusing as Google Voice users. While such users will be able to continue sending messages using their Google Voice numbers as they did before but will be unable to send carrier SMS messages via Hangouts from May 22. ALSO READ: Google launches Hangouts Meet, Chat in new G Suite update
This is how the change will affect users as per the email:
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.
Google is currently facing a strong competition from the likes of Slack and the recently launched Microsoft Teams in the enterprise segment. For end users, Google hasn’t really been able to put forth Hangouts as the preferred messaging application over the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It may be recalled that while Google allowed users to enable Hangouts as the default messaging app, it later launched a standalone Messenger application for a similar purpose. Google is now clearly focusing on its three new messaging applications like Google Duo for video calling, text-based Allo and the recently introduced Android Messages.