Update: As expected, Google has removed support for SMS in Hangouts, but those using Project Fi and Google Voice will not be affected by this change.
[Original post] Google Hangouts will very soon be without the beloved support for SMS. It means that you will no longer be able to use the Hangouts chat app as your default SMS app, something that is seen as an effort to push through the use of Google Allo.
With the launch of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, the Google Hangouts app was no longer a default app on Android 7.1 Nougat. Although it was still there, you needed to enable it manually via the Play Store, but you could find Google Allo and Duo pre-installed.
Well, in a move to push Google Hangouts from being a mobile-friendly app into a business-friendly app (mainly accessed via PCs and other corporate-based screens), the search engine giant has confirmed that starting May 22, users of the Hangouts chat app on Android will no longer be able to set the popular app as their default SMS app.
Google already has the Android Messages app that handles SMS activities on its devices by default and while it was cooler having the Hangouts app handle both, the tech giant prefers having each service handled by a separate app. At a time when Google is focusing on improving the performance of Android devices, it is indeed weird to have the company happy with even more pre-installed apps on phones.
In fact, at some point, Google Hangouts users were able to use the same app for normal Hangouts chats, SMS, and Google Voice as well, but all of these are separate apps. For those who had ditched Messages in favor of Hangouts with respect to SMS, well, you only have a few more weeks to enjoy the service or switch to the company’s SMS app – or whatever SMS app you’d wish to have on your phone.
Even though the SMS integration on Google Hangouts will be closed on May 22, you’ll start seeing a warning message (like the one above) as early as next week, starting March 27. Apparently, the move to end SMS support will not affect Google Voice users. The story is also the same regarding SMS integration with Google Project Fi.