Just where does Google want Android users sending and receiving their text messages? Back in 2013 Google merged its IP-based messaging and SMS as it brought the latter to Hangouts with the launch of KitKat. For a while it looked like that might be the end of it, and Hangouts might be Google’s one-stop-shop for users’ messaging needs. But then last year we got a hint that change might be on the way, as Google once again released a stand-alone SMS/MMS app: Messenger. Ever since, we’ve had our pick (or could always go with a third-party option), but why the split to begin with? Was Google getting second thoughts about the role Hangouts should play in text messaging? A new rumor suggests as much, and claims that Google’s about to remove SMS and MMS from Hangouts altogether.
The source is pretty clear on this relatively straightforward change: soon there will be no more pure SMS/MMS in Hangouts, and users will be directed to Google Messenger.
The only exceptions would be users whose Hangouts text-messaging experience is tied to Google Voice or Project Fi accounts, in which case Hangouts integration would reportedly remain.
We’ve heard a few theories on why Google might be making this move, including wanted to reduce user confusion, but that seems almost diametrically opposed to whatever reasoning drove the company to integrate all its messaging in the first place. If this move does indeed happen as rumored, we’re very curious to hear Google’s logic behind it.