Google began its transition to Hangouts as a universal messaging platform a little over a year ago, but true SMS integration didn't arrive until much more recently. To encourage use of Hangouts, the company offered forwarding of Hangouts messages via SMS in select countries, but now that's going away as of tomorrow.


The feature was confusingly named "SMS for Hangouts," and was basically a way to forward notifications. If a user didn't have a data connection, Google would forward Hangouts messages via SMS. It was only available in countries with limited mobile data connectivity like India and Guam. Now that the Hangouts app supports SMS natively, Google must feel less compelled to keep up with this feature.

This doesn't affect SMS support in the Hangouts app, despite the strange name for the fallback service. Google hasn't talked about this feature publicly or made any updates to it, so perhaps adoption was never very high in the first place. Someone will probably feel personally offended by this move, though.

[Google OS – Thanks, Pravs Vasan]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • remister

    Another thing going into the Cemetery, Google on a roll!

  • AD1980

    Man, your headline nearly gave me a stroke....
    rtfa for the win

  • Jesús Cuenca

    I do not even notice if they kill hagouts.

  • rmkilc

    I just want my SMS messages to sync with my Google account, and be visible within hangouts on all my devices.

    • frozencloud

      now that will be a dream come true..

      • rmkilc

        And when you send an sms from tablet or PC, it would sync in real time to your phone, which would send off the sms over the carriers network. If your phone was off, hangouts on PC or tablet would show an indicator that message won't be sent until phone is turned on.

        • Ole Ingeman Christensen

          This is exactly how it works with EvolveSMS and PushBullit.
          They have made a partnership, that makes the two applications work seamlessly together.
          Really nice. 😉

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            Or mightytext...

        • Evan Gilner

          Even better, you could STILL send AND RECEIVE messages from your tablet or PC if your phone was off/dead; Voice could do that, why not Hangouts?

          • rmkilc

            There is too much uncertainty around voice. Not everyone wants to port their number over. Certainly not me.

          • Evan Gilner

            Well it would be awesome if the new Hangouts could do it without having to port your number, but if not they should at least add the feature for those who'd be willing to.

          • Steve Solomon

            Uncertainty like what? I use Google Voice a lot and it works fine on tablet and phone... And you don't have to port your number... U can (which I did)... But it doesn't depend on you doing that. The only problem I've had with that is it not supporting MMS on all carriers, LoL!

            I can't believe that the iOS version of Hangouts supports Google Voice calls over cellular data or WiFi... And it's taking so long to have that on Android! LoL!

          • rmkilc

            Uncertainty as in Google may kill off Voice at any time. If the Android app wasn't 2 years outdated, then I would be more comfortable.

          • Steve Solomon

            Well I honestly doubt Google would just drop it...the voice app has had updates but there really isn't much need to develop it much because it'll eventually be merged with the Hangouts app like they did Talk (it's taking forever but they did say sometime this year), lol!

            But being that the FCC regulates things like porting your number I don't think Google would want to drop the ball on people who have trusted them to port their numbernumber. That seems like it would be pretty big. I've had my number almost 10 years (like 5 years since it was ported to Google Voice) the beauty of that is no matter if I change carriers or phones people still have the same number

    • Alvin Brinson

      Exactly. It's quite annoying when I move from my phone to my tablet. On the phone, there's all my conversations. On my tablet, there's only some of them. I'm never quite sure which ones will appear only on my tablet.

      Hangouts should populate your other non-SMS devices with received messages from your SMS enabled devices.

      Probably won't, as it would depend on features similar to what they appear to be killing right now. So much for unified messaging.

      • rmkilc

        Until this happens, I don't really like SMS merged into my Hangouts on my phone. Isn't Apple doing what I laid out in iOS 8 in iMessage?

        • Evan Gilner

          Yes and I might switch back to iOS because Apple is apparently the only one with the common sense to understand messaging.

          • Pierre Gardin

            This a way more important than the GV merger thing.

          • Zomby2D

            Until you or a friend decides to move to a different echosystem. Then Apple jusk keeps sending your messages into oblivion unless you've jumped through all the hoops BEFORE switching.

      • tookieboy

        hangouts messages have green chat bubbles, so that you know.

    • Chahk Noir

      ... and pipe it through my Google Voice number without any hackery.

    • Tony Byatt


      For the billionth time, why won't they merge Google Voice and Hangouts...

    • OniKyanAE86

      I have three phones and two tablets all on my Google account, they all sync and show the same SMS conversations in Google Hangouts from my main phone that I use which is a Note 3....... When I get an SMS through Hangouts all my devices ring/notify me which got annoying quickly so had turn of the notifications sound on the other devices......

      • rmkilc

        No you don't. This feature doesn't exist yet.

        • OniKyanAE86

          I'm just commenting on what my devices are doing, I can continue my conversations on tablet, to phone, and back. I have no reason to lie, you think I get jollies from trolling or making up shit on the internet? if its not working for you guys, that's your problem. And yes its SMS that I'm talking about. FranlJL and rmkilc, you two, so strong behind your keyboards and monitors, you guys have to be internet bullies??? All I was commenting was that it somehow is working for me, I never posted to attack anyone on here, but yet I got attacked, whatever... Thanks again FrankJL and rmkilc for making the internet a better place!

          • rmkilc

            It's not SMS. You must be referring to Hangout messages.

      • FrankJL

        Liar. Not SMS but if you are getting hangout messages all your devices are updated. But the SMS feature is not active

    • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada EggoEspada

      Well Apple did it in iOS 8 with iMessage, so I imagine Google will try for the same. It does so already to an extent via Google voice .

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      I just want the SMS to be backed up, that would be 100 times more useful

    • http://eichefam.net/ Paul

      That is exactly what I was hoping for from Google I/O. Not a single mention of Hangouts OR Voice. :C

    • http://facebook.com/idk1994 Sebastian Smith

      yes thats would be awesome

  • Brad


    • derk p

      omg, why wasnt this in america? this is an american company? we're always left out

    • Just_Some_Nobody

      You had to yell that?
      And why TF do you care? Is this something you'd use?


      • Brad

        you must not be american, what with your inability to pick up on sarcasm.

      • Dennis Reynolds

        I believe he was being sarcastic/making a joke. New Google features, services and products are often only available in America and select countries (at launch, at least).

        Reading comprehension! Logic!

  • Balvinder Makkar

    Its available in india and i was unaware

  • gumbald


    • Blue Sun

      What's this all aboot?

  • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

    Read "This doesn't affect SMS support in the Hangouts app".

    "Oh, ok, whatever this thingy they're killing is, then."

    • BigTimmay

      Ya. Ryan knows damn well he should've started out with that.

  • manish

    its a useful feature for me

  • deltatux

    Didn't even know this feature existed, would've been better if I did.

  • Dr. Giygas Devereaux

    Baseless speculation time! This feature was retired because a similar feature is being something-something-Google-Voice.

    • Derik Taylor

      Well that actually could be argued as that kind of feature is currently available in Google Voice, if I recall correctly. I would need to double check to make sure, but I believe you can have Google Voice messages forwarded to your phone via SMS and respond with it.

  • ash

    It was a really nice feature for me. If someone buzz me on hangout I would go online and chat with him or her. The funny part is even if you have data connection running then also hangouts give notifications after some time. This used to happen if you are not using for some hours. So I used to get sms and I go online and begin chatting reliable than hangout app.

    Ok take it back but give us option to see who is online. On talk it was like if someone used to unlock his status was shown as online. But now he should have hangouts open. Also if he is chatting with someone else on hangouts then other person can't see him online

    • ash

      I mesed up with punctuations. Hope other will understand

      • ash

        But I still believe they should have sent notifications to person using this feature. Also it didn't gain publicity as this was not made aware of and most almost 99.9% didn't know about this feature but when I told them they all liked it and activated it

  • DrakeTungsten

    My biggest peeve about using hangouts for SMS, is if I want to send a picture to someone via MMS, it asks what account I want to use. Can't I default it to one? Or even better, disable hangouts for the other accounts?

    • Pierre Gardin

      Multi-account support in most Google apps sucks.

  • Christopher Robert

    I am still holding my breath for Google Voice integration. STILL HOLDING.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    They better bring in the native SMS backup to cloud support in future updates

  • abobobilly

    WHATT? I actually loved this feature, and this was one feature because of which i loved using Hangouts. Many of my friends could communicate with me even when i was offline. I could reply to them "TO" hangouts, "FROM" SMS (received, via this feature).

    I am from Pakistan, and this feature was just a sensible to thing to have.

    And now Google is killing it. I am compelled to give Google a standing ovation of my middle fucking finger.

    They have made ZERO efforts in improving hangouts, and the app itself remained a major disaster on Android since years. SMS integration is like half done, where we still can't sync those bloody SMS messages across our Google account.

    Screw Google. I am going home.


    SMS Cloud Backup is everything i want in Hangouts! Backup!

  • Fitzelgard Allan Gerard

    Sigh, this was such a useful feature for me. Not all countries have Wi-Fi around every corner, or better yet, decent data service. I can't count the number of times this feature saved me, especially when it comes to sending money back home and awaiting a message if they received it. Even if I didn't have Wi-Fi, Google would conveniently send a copy of the latest hangout message via SMS. Oh well, maybe they have something else in mind.

  • mgamerz

    Obligatory Google Voi... you know what. Screw it. They don't care anymore.

  • black

    I don't use Hangouts for SMS. I use a separate app (Evolve), with a unique LED color for notifications. I can then know what type of message I've received. Tis all thanks to CM LED control.

    I like puppies.

  • phillysdon04

    After all this time the iphone version is still much better. We need quick reply, the ability to send videos from the gallery via MMS and send multiple pictures from gallery via MMS. I love the UI of Hangouts, but until they deliver the features I listed, I'll be using Textra.

  • JohnBRobinson

    It was a really nice feature for me. If someone buzz me on hangout I would go online and chat with him or her. The funny part is even if you have data connection running then also hangouts give notifications after some time. http://tr.im/5ntlz

  • quick

    Off topic but, wow I just realized that there was no Google voice integration with hangouts preview or release at Google I/O... Or did I miss something?

  • Jed

    I've tried using hangouts as my default sms twice now and both times I had to revert back to the default messaging app on my gs4 due to messages not being received. As soon as I made the messaging app the default sms app, I would get flooded with texts that weren't showing up in Hangouts. Am I the only one?

  • Tom

    Google seems to be a bit schizofrenic from time to time :P

  • Ian

    [misleading title]