Google Hangouts is one of the most used messaging apps thanks to the fact that it comes preinstalled on almost all Android devices. The application also lives in Google’s Gmail, which is also the most used email service in the world.
Recent updates to the app have been coming in with bizarre additions and subtractions from the app. In the latest update, Google Hangouts will be dropping the feature that allowed users to see SMS and IM messages wrapped up in one conversation. While this is happening, the same chat client is also adding a new feature where the more than 500 million people that use the app will now be able to send and receive video messages.
The latter feature has been on Google Hangouts for iOS for quite some time now, but it is only now that it is making its way to the Android niche. With the update, Hangouts users will now be able to record a short video message and send it to a friend, just like it happens with text and photos. There is no doubt that the ability to send video messages on Hangouts is great, however, getting this feature activated will also mean that you drop another core feature – merged IM and SMS chats.
Despite the removal of the ability to merge SMS and Hangouts IMs, the app will still let users see and receive SMS messages from within. However, the conversations will now be separated such that IM messages do not mix with SMSes. Earlier this year, it emerged that Google Hangouts v7.0 was warning users against the use of SMS services from within the app. Perhaps this was an indicator that the feature will indeed come to an end, but there is no any form of explanation from Google regarding this move. Google wants you to shift to using Messenger app, which still offers support for SMS services.
Google Hangouts v11 is now rolling out to all Android devices, but no one is forcing you to get the new version just in case you still fancy the merged SMS feature of the app.