The well-connected Derek Ross took to his Google+ profile yesterday, sharing a post entitled “Things that’ll piss people off”. In said post, he details something that — indeed — will piss people off. According to Ross (who has a pretty good track record when it comes to Google software), the Mountain View company is planning to strip SMS support from Hangouts in an effort to make the app better at its job…
Hangouts isn’t without its share of mixed opinions from its users. The app has long been one of the less stable Google-made pieces of software, and several updates over the years have taken it through ups and downs of being useable. That said, Google has been making obvious efforts as of late to rededicate itself to its messaging platform, and this is yet another move in that direction.
Derek Ross via Google+:
Let’s get this out of the way. This is a rumor. As it stands now, some people are dogfooding the latest version of Hangouts and they’re seeing a prompt to try out Google Messenger. The thought here is that Google wants Hangouts to just be Hangouts and not merged conversations of both SMS and Hangouts. Cue the sad trombone.
It’s not yet clear whether this means Google Voice users will lose their ability to message within Hangouts, but our guess is that they won’t as Project Fi uses Google Voice (whose home is now primarily within the confines of the Hangouts app) to allow you to send and receive messages from any of your Android devices. This change is likely only to affect those who used Hangouts as an alternative to the default messaging app.
Ross went on to add today some more information on the thinking behind this move. “The Hangouts team wants to focus on making Hangouts the best at Hangouts. Carrier SMS is going to go away eventually,” he said. “Step 1 of this process is to push users to an alternative, Messenger.” Rest assured if you’re worried about losing Google Voice and Project Fi support in the app, however. Ross adds: “Google Voice and Project FI support are NOT going away.”