Google Hangouts for Android adds quick reply, encourages installing Messenger

Rob Attrell

January 27, 2016 7:41am

The Google Hangouts app for Android has received an update to version 7.0 today, bringing convenient new features, along with a few smaller tweaks to the interface. With the update, users can reply to incoming messages directly from notifications, without having to open the Hangouts app directly.

Last year, Google released the Messenger SMS app for Android, and the company has said SMS integration will eventually be removed from Hangouts. When version 7.0 of Hangouts is first launched, a popup suggests installing Messenger for users who haven’t already done so. Finally, the app will now also let users save shortcuts to go directly into any conversation from the home screen, which is be very useful for common message threads.

You might also notice some small design changes to the conversation list and settings screen, which now more closely follows Google’s Material Design guidelines. The update is rolling out now from the Play Store.

  • Arecad

    As soon as Hangouts loses SMS, I lose Hangouts.

  • thomas nguyen

    Back to Hangouts now that they have the quick reply from the notification screen!

  • Orage42

    If they remove SMS integration from Hangouts they better integrate hangouts into Messenger. Why the need for two apps when a one-stop-shop works so well.

    • Ipse

      You forgot the third app…the dialer. This is nuts.

  • neo905

    Messenger is a battery hog along with Hangouts.

  • mola2alex

    To echo everyone else who uses hangouts, what we need is better SMS, not removing it. Like SMS sync across PC and tablet for instance would be huge.

    • danbob333

      All SMS sync solutions suck because your phone needs to be turned on and with signal for it to work. The real solution is not to use SMS, however the stop gap is using hosted SMS solutions such as Google Voice.

    • mola2alex

      When is your phone not turned on with signal? Doesn’t seem like a bad compromise. If Google voice was an actual option here in Canada without shitty hacks…

      Bottom line is you need to support the legacy in parallel to the future, otherwise you will never get mass adoption. Do you think if i launched a browser that supported only http 2, that anyone would ever use it? No because I would need another app to see the sites in http 1. SMS is IM version 1. It works across devices and networks. My parents have a feature phone and a smartphone with no data. I, like many have no option, my parents want to keep a home phone (for reasons unknown) and not spend on data just for IM. SMS is included in their plan and adding data is extra 30 per phone.

      Google can continue to struggle in this area until they offer something compelling. I wish apple would just launch imessage and facetime for Android, might be the wake up Google needs.

  • deltatux

    Looks like I’m a minority here, but I think Google needs to double down on their efforts with Hangouts and if it means they have to remove integrated SMS support, so be it. Personally, I haven’t used SMS for over a year as IMs are much better than SMS. I only use SMS as a fallback in case my contacts don’t have IM.

    Hangouts still has a lot of bugs like failure to notify of new messages and it’s slightly slower than other messaging solutions like Telegram or Signal. Voice calls sometimes bugs out over mobile data too. These things are the things that Google needs to fix and if SMS integration is causing more issues than it is worth, then drop SMS because it’s a legacy deadweight.

    • SMS is still the default. When I look at ads on Kijiji I don’t see anyone listing their google account as a contact method.

    • deltatux

      That’s why I said, SMS is only good as a backup solution. There are other IM solutions other than Hangouts, if other people have WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, LINE, KakaoTalk, or Signal, you can use that as well.