For months, we were confused as to why Google created and introduced their own Messenger app when we were all expecting Google Hangouts to become the standard for all messaging needs throughout Google’s services. From instant messaging to texting and MMS to in-document chats, Hangouts is supposed to be the guy (or gal). Remember that almost two years ago to the day, Google told us that Hangouts was the “future.” It even looked like they would deliver on that statement for a while, after introducing SMS into Hangouts and starting the integration of Google Voice. But again, here we are years later and that future sure is taking its sweet time arriving.
After digging around in Google’s Project Fi support site last night, I think we now know why Google created their own Messenger app – Hangouts just isn’t ready for prime time yet when it comes to SMS, MMS, and group messaging. In fact, Google recommends Messenger over Hangouts.
The exact wording from Project Fi support is, “For now, we recommend using Messenger as the default SMS app. There are a few features, like group messaging, that aren’t supported in Hangouts yet.” So there you have it. Messenger lives because it’s actually pretty good at dealing with texting of all kinds, while Hangouts, after all these years, still isn’t.
If you haven’t tried out Google’s Messenger for SMS/MMS and group messaging, consider giving it a spin, it’s actually one of Google’s better apps. It recently got notification quick replies before almost any other app on the planet, now supports GIFs, and has a fancy widget.