Earlier this month, Google finally announced its rebranded Hangouts Chat focussed on the enterprise. With the company also showing renewed focus on Android Messages as the platform’s defacto RCS client, it makes sense for Hangouts to eventually lose its SMS capabilities. In an email reportedly sent to G Suite administrators, that change will take place in May.
The move is described as part of an ongoing effort to improve “the most popular features” of Hangouts, which Google considers to be group chat and video conferencing. In light of more consumer-focused alternatives like Android Messages and Google moving away from a unified messaging app, it makes sense that carrier SMS text messaging is finally being stripped out.
The transition will begin next week with current users seeing an in-app prompt that asks them to choose another default messaging app. If none is installed, they will be directed to the Play Store. As the ability to set a default SMS client is built into Android, previous messages will be accessible in the new app.
On May 22, SMS features will completely stop functioning in Hangouts. Notably, Google Voice users are exempted with existing sending and receiving capabilities continuing to function past that deadline.
This email is not confirmed, bit it makes sense for Google to first begin alerting enterprise customers to this change. The prompt for users should begin appearing in March 27th