It looks like Google will soon integrate SMS and MMS, in addition to adding video sharing capabilities to its Hangouts messaging app.
According to a report by Android Police, Hangout app’s version 1.3 comes with SMS and MMS support, and also enables video sharing via Google’s Hangouts protocol. The website cites sources familiar with the matter to inform the same. The site received screenshots of the new app with the Settings menu that features toggles of turning on SMS and retrieving MMS as well as screenshots of an SMS conversation thread in the Hangouts app.
The report mentions that Google Hangout messages that go through SMS would bear a ‘via SMS’ label next to their timestamp in the app. While MMS picture messaging is supported, it’s not clear if the app will also allow sending videos via MMS through the app. For now, the report clarifies that the release timeline of the app is not known, and that there’s no information at this point in time if it will be rolled out with or before the release of Android 4.4 KitKat.
The site also speculates that Google may get rid of the Messaging app all together just like it integrated the Google+ Messenger with the Hangouts app. The unified instant messaging and chat feature will make Hangouts similar to Apple’s iMessage platform that uses one app for both SMS and instant messaging, and the Windows Phone Messages app that also integrates online instant messaging service.
Google had announced Hangouts, a unified messaging service that merged its various messaging platforms including Google Talk, Google+ Hangouts, Messenger and Google Talk for Google+, at the Google I/O event in May. It only offers text and video chat at the time of its rollout. The Hangouts app was released on iOS, Android and for Chrome (as an extension) allowing users to share text, photos and live video with each other after signing in with their Google account credentials.