When it was launched, it was expected that Google Hangouts would feature the ability to send and receive SMS as well much like iMessage. The expectation seems to be coming alive now after a leak from Android Police which shows those features in Hangouts version 1.3.
Although this is just a rumour, the evidence is strong and in a way is a much expected move from Google. Hangouts already has the ability to send and receive instant messages and video chats (one to one and group) and introducing this SMS and MMS integration would mean Google would be plugging a hole in Hangouts with another useful feature.
Google has not released their plan for Hangouts 1.3 but these leaks suggest that development is going well and strong and can be released sooner than we expect.
Hangouts has already replaced Google Messenger and Talk. So, after the integration of the messaging features where do you thing the future of the default Messaging app would be?
Update: It’s official now.
In Google’s event on Oct. 29, 2013, Google has confirmed the following updates rolling out to Hangouts.
- Location sharing : You can now send a map of your current location via Hangouts
- Send & Receive SMS : Time to say goodbye to the native messaging app. Sending & Receiving SMS will now be integrated into Hangouts.
- Support for animated GIFs : Animated GIFs will play inline in the text within Hangouts
Besides these, the video calling feature has also been given a significant improvement. Hangouts can now automatically enhance webcam lighting to improve the user experience.
According to Google’s official blog, “The Android app and video calling features will be available in a few days, while the On Air improvements will roll out over the next few weeks.”
Update 2: The app is now officially available in the Play Store. You can download it from there. Here is the link