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Hangouts is Losing SMS Integration on May 22

With Google Voice back in action, Android Messages getting a major push as the RCS client of the future, Allo out here doing nothing but acting as a punchline, and Hangouts transforming into a 2-piece enterprise solution going forward, we have some clarity on Google’s messaging direction for the first time in years. 

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LOLZ. No we don’t. We have no idea what Google is doing. What we do know is that Google appears to be making the situation worse these days by ripping SMS support out of Hangouts on May 22, at least according to emails being sent to GSuite (Google for Work) customers. I wish that was a joke, but it’s not!

The emails being sent state that by May 22, those who use Hangouts for SMS purposes with a carrier phone number will have to find a new solution. That means if you use SMS with Hangouts from your Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. phone number, that you won’t be able to do so come May 22. You should see a notification by March 27 that tells you about the upcoming change.

Of course, Android Messages is a perfectly good (if not borderline great) SMS solution and will do you right. Unfortunately, that means you’ll now have to use separate applications for Hangouts and SMS, a task you probably want no part of after spending years with a single messaging application.

Oh, we’d also imagine that you won’t be able to send SMS through Hangouts on desktop either. Cool, right? Yikes. Pushbullet is an app that offers a solution there, though. There are others as well.

As for Google Voice users who integrate with Hangouts, you are still good as long as you use your Google Voice number for SMS purposes.

I should point out that this could just be for GSuite customers and that regular Hangouts users will be fine. But yeah, I wouldn’t put my money on that.

We’ll likely have more to say in the morning. For now, grab a beer or some tequila and take in the letter below.

Hangouts SMS Death Letter


Hello Administrator,

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.

Note: Google Voice numbers will continue to be supported after May 22. This change only applies to SMS text messages sent and received from carrier phone numbers.

We will prepare users for this change by showing an in-app message beginning March 27, 2017. Here is what users will see:

rip hangouts sms

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.

What you should do As a result of this change, you may receive questions from affected users. We’ve identified the users (copied below) who will be affected at your domain xxxxxx.com. You can share this Help Center article if users have any questions. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please contact G Suite support.

Sincerely,
The G Suite Team

Via: reddit
  • Already sick of winning

    As a Project Fi subscriber, if I lose my ability to text and call on my desktop, I’m canceling my subscription and going back to AT&T.

  • Daniel Kaine Allen

    I can’t understand why they would drop support for it. I’ve been using it for years and love it. Buncha garbage if you ask me.

  • Dirge

    Bye, Felicia.

  • Julio Morales

    I contacted Project Fi, and this doesn’t apply to their customers. SMS will still be a part of the app, for Project Fi customers.

  • LMFAO. Unlike some people in this thread, I knew Hangouts was a loser from day 1. I got everyone on FB Messenger instead.

  • Ben

    I honestly don’t care what app i use on my phone. my biggest issue is they don’t even mention what happens for Google Fi users. I LOOOOOVVVE texting from my desktop. I don’t want that to go away. And i’m not about to shell out extra money for a monthly pushbullet plan or any hackery like that.

  • Martin JoFX

    Who uses sms’ in 2017?

  • VAVAMk_2

    SMS coming to Allo?

  • Turb0wned

    Google is so lost these days it keeps making stay with Apple.

    • KleenDroid

      Does that even make sense?

  • Jason

    so then what will be the point of hangouts? just to have an ugly green app?

  • Jeff

    Kellen…might want to add that it *appears* very likely that Project Fi subscribers won’t be affected either.

    https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6159953?hl=en&ref_topic=4596407

  • Mushy Waffle

    It makes NO SENSE to remove an option that millions use just for the sake of removing it.

  • Raven ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Apparently they have been planning this since at least January of 2016 with Hangouts 7.0:
    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/01/google-hangouts-7-0-for-android-asks-users-to-stop-using-it-for-sms/

  • Charles Rogers

    Uh, someone quick. I need a Rageface.
    Sincerely-1/10.

  • Several Android Auto users (me included) have run up against a problem, where Google Assistant fails to reply to SMS messages saying the needed chat application hasn’t been installed (thread is provided below). Turns out a work-around (fix?) is to enable the Hangouts app. Sure enough, I had disabled Hangouts on my device, and once I re-enabled it, it Google Assistant in Android Auto started working again for replying to SMS messages.

    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/android-auto/Kxb3deoJU_Y/qXTvN9qvBQAJ

    I have to wonder how losing SMS integration would affect this work around. Is Google going to fix the problem Android Auto users are experiencing?

  • Joe Paul

    What about ProjectFi users. Is that considered a Google Voice number? I went all-in with google and moved my whole company and my whole family over to ProjectFi.

  • paul_cus

    This is exactly why I won’t jump onto any of Google’s messaging platforms. They’re just too fickle.

  • This is why I switched to Pushbullet. And the fact I can send files and links from my laptop directly to my phone with a right click has been awesome. Well worth the $40 a year.

  • Gumption24

    Eh. I stopped using Hangouts for SMS once they separated my conversations into individual threads for chat and SMS. Too much clutter. That was the best feature (and text from desktop). The fragmentation is out of control.

  • PeacedOut

    This is 3 days after IO, wondering if it ties to some announcement they will make at that time.

    • Paul

      At least it better…!!! Disappointing if not.

  • Carson

    Since no one understands what Google is thinking here, myself included, can’t we reach out to the company for some sort of explanation?

  • JP

    Wow wtf is Google doing. If Apple just opened up their OS a bit with things like adding a file manager I could see a lot of people switching over. Android and most of Google’s apps are a mess from the top down.

  • BoFiS

    Booo, Allo and Duo are NOT remotely good replacements, this is dumb, it was nice that Hangouts could do everything all in one app, and between devices, with a common chat history that’s searchable in gmail…

  • MrOrange645

    I still don’t understand this direction. I’m a GV user, so I won’t be affected FOR NOW, but I see that going away as well. It made so much more sense to have an integrated messaging service. I understand it wasn’t perfect, but I love hangouts for the integration. Want to know how many messaging services I have on my home screen? One. Hangouts. Cause it does (did) everything I need.

    I guess I need to accept that I’ll be forced to migrate to the GV app, which sucks because you can’t make it the default messaging app. I really like Android Messages app, but it’s carrier number only. And Allo is okay, but no one uses it. If it got true GV integration like Hangouts has, then it would be much better and would be a viable option.

    Duo sucks, because we have five kids, and sometimes we do group video chats, now we can only viceo chat with one person at a time. But taking away features somehow “improves” the user experience?

    I love Android, and iOS mostly frustrates me, but this is one are that Apple nailed it. SMS and messaging completely integrated and video calls integrated with the stock dialer. Google had nailed it but is now blowing it all up.

    If Google can integrate GV calling with the stock dialer, why can’t they integrate GV texting with the stock Android Messages app?

  • Eric Long

    As a Project Fi user, I sincerely hope that this is not going to happen. Using Hangouts as my messaging app is a core feature when on project fi.

    • Joel Hardman

      I don’t think we’ll be affected. I believe our numbers were converted to Google Voice numbers when we switched to project fi. I could be wrong though.

      • Eric Long

        They may have been, but that is confusing as well, as I do not need the gv app installed on my device. Honestly, Google is getting more confusing. I do love my Project Fi though!

        • Joel Hardman

          Agreed, it’s quite the cluster. It wouldn’t be so bad if Allo supported SMS and desktop messaging. I’m all for the RCS changeover, but until that’s adopted by all carriers, they need to support legacy technology.

          • Jeff

            Guys, this link basically states that Project Fi numbers are not GVoice numbers. https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6246240?hl=en
            Based on this, I would expect to receive the same notice as any other non-GVoice number. I’m short of all but confirming this with a support tech (if they even know LOL).

          • Jeff

            aaaannnd this particular tech said Fi numbers are NOT affected and will be able to send/receive SMS in Hangouts beyond May 22.

  • Seriously. Why is this a shock? What is so hard to understand about this?

    The only thing I do understand is that this what people think they don’t want so you act shock and confused by it all.

  • bogy25

    First of all it ALREADY doesn’t work! I can’t tell you how many service requests I have put in because either I can’t receive and SMS or a group SMS or a picture MMS – it is a mess! I use hangouts for my wife as she is on Android. The I use the default messenger for everyone else. Not by choice but because Hangouts just doesn’t work. Glad to see it go!

    • Decibel_NV

      MMS didn’t initially work for a while on various carriers. Verizon, which I’m on, was way down on the list for MMS integration a few years ago. I infer from that that it is an integration part (Read: negotiation$) on various carriers due to “technology” hurdles. But MMS is an industry standard protocol that already worked across carriers?

  • J. Carter

    I honestly don’t miss android very much. This SMS from desktop feature is baked into Apples ecosystem. My company forced me onto an iPhone a couple of years ago and at first I was pissed. I left an HTC M8, Note 4, Nexus 6 rotation and had an iPhone 5S. But as soon as Apple rolled out the 6Plus i started to turn around. I had a high res screen and great battery and camera. I was sending texts from my iPad and Macbook to android users and iMessage users. And the google apps are great. Better than Androids google apps at times. In fact, i’d said before recently that other than the Pixel and the Nexus, the iPhone is probably the best Google phone on the market. I dunno, i still miss android at times but it just seems a little lost.

    • Michael Pahl

      do you enjoy having all your apps on your homescreen? not being able to drag things around the way you prefer?

      • J. Carter

        I wouldn’t say I enjoy it but I kind of got over the customized home screen. I have folders set up how I like them and my most used apps on my home screen. I liked the minimal approach anyway. I find I actually use apps more instead of just fiddling with customizations.

      • Turb0wned

        You get over that pretty quickly when everything just works perfectly together. Everything is also more polished and fits with the OS. Android is a complete mess. How many things still don’t have that material design look. How many different shaped icons do I need to have, and no I don’t want to have to use a launcher.

    • Bobb

      you can send non-iMessage texts (SMS) via wifi?

      • pappy53

        Absolutely.

        • Bobb

          how? I don’t understand how that would work (Tech wise) because its not imessage and SMS can’t be done via WFI
          Can i do this with my Ipad even if I have an android phone?

          • Chris

            On the Android side, you could download something like AirDroid and you can send and receive texts with WiFi. The iPhone needs to be on the same WiFi network as the MacBook to be able to send SMS over WiFi. If the iPhone doesn’t have WiFi on, I would assume this would not be possible.

          • J. Carter

            Yeah i think if you have Cortana installed you can actually do this with the default messaging app on Windows 10. I havent tried it but i’m sure it’s not as reliable as iOS/MacOS

  • Drew

    Is this Google courage?

  • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    next up….sms integration for allo?? doubtful

    • sinfoman

      I saw this headline and thought, “I can’t wait to hear Howard’s response.” I think I agree with Drew above. This looks more and more like Google ahem, Alphabet, trying to push their RCS agenda. For the record, I’M OK WITH THAT, but just dropping SMS cold is not the answer, a la Apple and their headphone jack debacle. To that end, I think it is more likely that they will continue with Messages for MMS/RCS (with MMS eventually sunsetting there) and keep Allo as their “cutesy” (?) solution to.. what? Integrate assistant with messages and call it a day. Jeez.

      • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        such a great viewpoint to be honest…I dont think its the right move either. I personally say they use hangouts for professional use, but keep SMS. The market it different. Then integrate SMS into Allo, add Duo INTO it and be ABOVE iMessage. I mean, lets be honest, Apple has iMessage on LOCK. Its probably the best stock message app out there

        • Dan

          It’s the best as long as you only communicate with other iPeople.

          • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            of course….i tried switching, and its a pain going back to android after.

        • sinfoman

          It’s THE reason Apple is where they is. Hands down the only real item going for them v. Android.

          • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Totally agree. I almost wish I could get it on Android

  • Jesse Blacklock

    Oh ffs, why? It was bad enough when they removed merged conversations, that should have been a clue they would remove SMS I guess… I don’t like using 2 apps for conversations

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Can’t wait for the next podcast where Tim will now have to explain to all his family and friends that he was wrong about switching them to Hangouts.

    • DanSan

      If you switched all your friends and family to hangouts, you can still use hangouts to talk to them. hopefully if they are using hangouts core instant messaging and not using it as an SMS replacement.

  • Jérôme Besnard

    When I was about to give up on Picassa and G+ photos, Google pulled Photos and I forgot the years of not liking Google for messing up with photos, pictures and gallery. I hope Google has something up its sleeve and reconcile me with its messaging apps. Loosing the web app is big for me. Sure, I can use a 3rd party app but come on, Allo is going to get it. Just announce that Allo is getting SMS support on May 22nd and I will like you again Google. Otherwise, not cool at all.

  • Jeff

    How does Project Fi play into this? My phone number is the same from my carrier days, but can I assume that my number is considered a Google Voice number?

  • Jan Lavicka

    Google imbeciles dont know what to do: Hangouts, Allo, Duo, Messages instead of JUST ONE APP
    incompetent iDiots at Google in charge.

    So I dont use any, ony FB messenger and stock sms Samsung app.

  • john lens

    Since the last update, Google Voice is now similar to Hangout, Voice is the only app I use now instead of Hangout.

    • Jérôme Besnard

      Unless, like me, and you are on Fi: can’t use Gvoice.

  • droidify

    Sometimes I hate google. I don’t understand why they always split one app into two and then try and tell you it’s better.

    • Jan Lavicka

      Because Google is overwhelmed by iDiots

      • Except Apple uses one messaging platform, so I don’t get how calling them iDiots is appropriate.

        • sc0rch3d

          A diot is a sausage from the French region of Savoy (La Savoie) which comes in several varieties (according to Google).

          so maybe @janlavicka:disqus was calling Google an apple version of french sausages! /s

          • Dan

            I like sausage.

          • Turb0wned

            That’s what she said.

        • Jan Lavicka

          No, I mean iDiots from Apple have moved to Google product management, unfortunately.

  • Keith Matocha

    Luckily for me I never jumped on the Hangouts train. Been using Verizon message+. Can use it on my Android phone, computer, iPad, iPod & whatever else I might have laying around. Works great. I was actually surprised when I first started using it that Verizon actually made a useful app.

  • CapnShiner

    If Hangouts was as good as third party apps, like Textra, for SMS, maybe more people would use it. Even if it was as good as Android Messages more people would use it. Hangouts was supposed to be the all-in-one tool for messaging and chat- Google’s answer to iMessage and FaceTime. They just did such a terrible job with the apps that it never took off the same way Apple’s apps did. Then they made it worse with all the integrating and deintegrating of various services.

    I think Google Voice should have remained separate. Integrating it with Hangouts just made it confusing and messy. I think they need to make the experience as seamless as iMessage. Let Hangouts and SMS be integrated but use the Android Messages app. Have it be installed by default. Let it automatically choose whether to send messages via Hangouts or SMS/MMS based on the recipient and the size of the message(but also let users switch to manual selection). Make video Hangouts sessions as easy to establish as FaceTime. Then people would use it. Make it link to Google Drive and Google Photos for quick sharing, add support in Google Assistant, and maybe add support for VR video chat and it could be better than what Apple has.

  • Art Ramirez

    So I will still be able to send MMS/ SMS messages using my GV number on Hangouts right? Cuz that’s what I currently do. The only number I tell people is my GV number. Thanks

    • admmck

      That’s my question too!

  • THANKS GOODNESS I don’t use carrier SMS, only Google Voice SMS. (I never even give out my Verizon number.) I tried switching over to GV for SMS recently and it was fine on my phone but NOT on my computer! I never realized how absolutely crucial it had become for me to be able to receive and send SMS from the Gmail Hangouts interface. If that ever goes away, I’ma get on a BART train to Mountain View and start a protest on the lawn.

    • MrOrange645

      I use GV exclusively as well for calls and texts. I have no issues using GV for texting from the desktop app. What issues are you having?

      • Well it’s just having to keep another tab open and dealing with different visual and audible notifications and overall dealing with it in a different way than I already have set up now. You mention “desktop app”. So you aren’t doing everything from just the web interface? Are you using the Chrome extension or is there some other desktop app that makes things easier?

    • O’Malley (Deplorable)

      The fact that you know BART might imply you’re from California. However, BART does not run all they way down to Mountain View. Haha. You could ride it as far as Millbrae and ride a bus from there.

      • YOU ARE RIGHT. I’m in the Sacramento area so I know of BART and have used it on a few occasions but didn’t know it didn’t go all the way to Mountain View LOL.

    • Baseer

      btw….BART doesn’t go down to Mountain View…you’d need to get on CALTrain 😛

    • deskjob

      So Mathew, not sure if you got the memo, but BART won’t get you to Mountain View. I’ll make sure you get another memo, mmmmkay? 😀 #TPSreports

  • XgudwilX

    This is how I’ve used Hangouts from day one.

    Carrier- SMS/MMS with Google Messenger & phone app for calls. (Mobile line)

    Hangouts SMS/MMS & calls with my Google Voice number.(Office line)

    Whats the big deal?

    • Dan

      Yup, this is how I use them as well, I actually like to keep them seperate.

  • JXD

    This is extremely terrible news. I’d say I’m also “one of the 10” but… I personally know more than 10 people who I’ve convinced to use Hangouts over the years. It’s absolutely perfect for an office environment! I hate texting, tapping or swiping across a mini keyboard when you have to write an entire paragraph is ridiculous. I love voice-to-text but talking to your phone while you’re in the office makes you look like an idiot. Being able to text someone from your computer is PERFECT. And the main issue is that many people in today’s technical industry don’t have a single unified channel of communication. My wife & I use Hangouts, while some of my immediate co-workers are on iPhones… lastly, some less tech savvy (usually older) use either Android with no idea of which text app they’re using or still even have a work provided Blackberry. Thus far, Hangouts has been my one form of communication that worked for everyone, from my PC, laptop, phone, tablet no matter where I’m at or what I’m doing.

    I love Google! Have been a fanboy since Android was less than 1% of the marketshare. Probably because I’ve been working and programming on a linux backbone since I was young. But I can’t honestly say that I haven’t at least considered the idea of making the jump to iPhone in the recent year or two mostly because Google can’t get their s**t straight when it comes to this texting trainwreck they’ve created. I don’t like more apps than necessary on my phone, it runs slim, fast and I don’t have to worry about unnecessary wake locks due to some crappy app that I don’t need. Please Google, Hangouts with merged SMS conversations was perfect … get your stuff together. I don’t care which app it is or what it’s called, but the second I have to use 2+ diff apps for communication is the second iMessage starts to make Google look like a fool … not to mention, most of G-Apps are available for Apple now AND they often get updates first! LOL what a joke… please Google, don’t make me regret being a die hard Android fan.

    lol had to edit this and repost because DL kept declining my comment… anti wall of text? 😛 sorry for the ramble, just sorta heart broken by this news, thanks to anyone who took the time to skim it 😀

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  • Jim Foskett

    NNNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Caleb Martin

    I’m not surprised. I use Google Voice for text messages instead of carrier SMS, but I moved back to the GV app as soon as they released the overhaul update because I was certain they would be dumping it from Hangouts in the near future. It looks even more like they are heading in that direction now.

  • Chris

    you had one job, Google (a subsidiary of Alphabet)…ONE JOB!

  • Voltism

    Twitch plays: Google application management

  • Crazydog

    WHAT.

    We didn’t want to use Allo, so maybe they’re forcing us to use a separate SMS app so we get used to using 5 different messaging apps.

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    • Raven ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      This is my tinfoil hat theory. People aren’t adopting Allo because they still use Hangouts because of SMS, so someone gets the brilliant idea that hey, if they remove SMS from Hangouts, maybe more people will try Allo.

      • sinfoman

        Sadly, you may be onto something. Apple called it “courage.”

  • JoeInMO

    THIS SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • disastrousrainbow

    I’m sure this will upset the ten people who still use it.

    • 10M?

      • Tomek G

        I never used Hangouts + SMS integration. There was really no real point.
        Conversations weren’t portable between clients. And I actually prefer separate clients because each has unique required features.

        I think last great integration I got on my old blackberry.

      • Matt

        I’m with K. I want one stupid app to do it all not 6 to do nothing.

      • disastrousrainbow

        No. The ten people that actually use it and not the 10 million whose phone came pre-installed with it and accidentally opened it thinking it’d be useful.

        Google honestly just needs to stop this Android Messages, Allo, Hangouts, etc. nonsense and get with the program. Lift the best parts of iMessage, make it better, and make Android users feel like it’s as integral to their Android phone as that Google search bar.

      • Eddie Jr

        Lmao you funny

      • MGardnerDA1235

        Other than general Hangouts crappiness, it lose me when they split the SMS and ‘g chat’ conversations.

    • ushneb

      I guess I’m one of those 10 who will have to look for an alternative. I really liked Hangouts + SMS.