Google Axing SMS Texting From Hangouts

If you use Google Hangouts as your main text messaging app, we have some bad news.

In an email reportedly sent to GSuite admins, Google announced plans to remove SMS text messaging from Hangouts on Android. The message, posted to Reddit, notes that the change will go into effect on May 22, at which point users will no longer be able to send and receive SMS text messages through the app.

Google will begin showing in-app messages about the change on March 27 to prepare affected users for the transition. If you've set Hangouts as the default messaging app on your phone, you'll be prompted to choose another. If you don't have any other messaging apps installed on your handset, you'll be directed to the Play store, where you can download one (like Google's own Allo app).

"Choosing a new messaging app will not impact existing SMS messages," Google reportedly wrote in the note. "All messages will be accessible in the new messaging app."

Note that this change will not apply to Google Voice numbers, only SMS text messages sent and received from carrier phone numbers.

Google said the change is part of its recent effort to revamp Hangouts. The company earlier this month gave Hangouts a business-focused update, splitting the service in two: Meet and Chat. Meet is designed to "make joining meetings effortless so that people can be as productive as they are when they're face-to-face," Director of Product Management for Hangouts Scott Johnston wrote in a blog post at the time. The Slack-like Chat service is an "intelligent communication app for teams that takes direct messaging in Hangouts and evolves it to reflect the way modern teams talk business."

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