Google shuttering Talk, removing SMS support from Hangouts in new messaging shakeup

The changes, which will begin on May 22, are part of a continuing attempt to consolidate its many messaging apps.

Messaging has never been Google’s strong suit. Aside from the various messaging apps from Android phone makers, it also has its own problems, with numerous overlapping apps that all have similar functions: Allo, Android Messages, Hangouts, Duo, Google Voice, and Google Talk. Now, Google is taking some much-needed steps to consolidate its efforts.

On June 26, Google will finally be closing Google Talk for good. The instant messaging service affectionately known as Gchat is one of Google’s oldest messaging apps, having been in existence since 2005. Way back in 2013, Google began encouraging Talk users to switch to Hangouts, and on June 26 the transition will be complete and its doors will be closed for good. On that day, any straggling Talk users will be automatically transitioned to Hangouts for good, where they can continue chatting with their friends. (And for anyone who was hanging on just for the interface, Google notes that the Dense Roster setting in Hangouts will provide a similar experience.)

Also part of the change will be the removal of SMS support from Hangouts. That change will happen on May 22, at which point Google will force all users to Android Messages for their texting needs. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since Google announced a business-minded revamp for Hangouts a couple weeks back and also recently announced Android Messages, a new push and name for its previous SMS app, Messenger.

While we’re sure to hear more about this new strategy at Google I/O, it looks like Android Messages is the new app to rule them all: “We’re focused on making Android Messages the primary place to access SMS and are working with carriers and device manufacturers to include Android Messages natively in Android devices. Over time, we’re working with partners to upgrade SMS to RCS—the next standard in carrier messaging that will bring features like read receipts, group chat, hi-res photo sharing and more.”

Talking points: Any time Google makes a change to one of its messaging apps is usually cause for concern, but this is a good thing. Google Talk hasn’t received any official support for years, and Hangouts can now be what it’s supposed to be: a modern replacement for Gchat. Losing SMS support in Hangouts isn’t a huge deal either, since Google seems committed to making Android Messages the default texting client that we actually want to use. But that’ll take two things: merging it with Allo so we can enjoy stickers and Google Assistant, and developing a proper backup system so we don’t lose all our conversations when we switch phones.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Messaging

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?