On Friday, it was reported that Google is informing G Suite users via email that it will be dropping SMS support for Hangouts. The email mentioned that Hangouts users using carrier SMS would be promted to switch to an alternative messaging app. Now, Google has officially detailed this move in a new G Suite blog post, while also announcing some other changes to streamline Hangouts and Gmail.
The blog post reaffirms Google's desire to revamp Hangouts to serve G Suite and enterprise users. The company earlier this month rolled Hangouts Meet video conferencing service along with text-based messaging service Hangout Chat. The new services aim to serve business and group chat users alike.
"We've been working hard to streamline the classic Hangouts product for enterprise users, and, as part of this effort, will be removing carrier SMS functionality in the classic Hangouts app for Android, starting on May 22," reads the blog post. Google also confirms that SMS functionality will now move to Android Messages.
In an effort to reduce the wide and confusing number of messaging apps, Google has also decided to move the old Google Talk, or GChat, over to Hangouts after June 26. This means that anyone who was still using Google Talk rather than Hangouts will now need to shift to Hangouts to continue messaging on Gmail. Furthermore, the Google Talk app for Android will also stop functioning.
Despite stopping its services for Google Talk, the company still has an array of messaging services to offer including Allo, Duo, Hangouts and Android Messages. But it now looks like Google wants to clearly define each of its messaging apps to serve different purposes. It also wants to push its Allo chat app and Duo video calling app as the the ones general users should choose over Hangouts.
Additionally, Google will also be retiring several Gmail Labs projects including Authentication Icon, Google Voice Player, Picasa previews, Pictures in chat, Quick Links, Quote Selected Text, Smartlabels, and Yelp previews on or after April 24, 2017. Meanwhile, two Google+ features in Gmail will also bid farewell: the ability to email Google+ profiles and the use of Google+ Circles.