Ever since Google launched Hangouts as a replacement to Google Talk, people have been asking the search giant to integrate SMS with Hangouts, making it a true all-in-one messaging app like Apple’s iMessage. With Android 4.4 KitKat, Google finally granted everyone’s wish, and now even those without KitKat on their phones can start using the new Hangouts with SMS integration.
That’s right, Google has finally begun rolling out an update to Hangouts on the Play Store that will bring the option to send text messages using one’s carriers without needing a separate messaging app. The new version comes on the Nexus 5 out of the box, and while it isn’t the kind of integration we were hoping for, with SMS and online chats being separate for each contact, it’s a start, so we aren’t going to complain.
Here’s the full changelog for the update:
- SMS & MMS (Android 4.0+): Send/receive text messages with Hangouts! You can import your existing messages, quickly switch between SMS and Hangouts, and start group MMS conversations
- Animated GIFs: send animated GIFs, cute kittens and all
- Location: share a location in your conversations
- Device, in-call, mood status: share what device you’re on, whether you’re on a call, or your current mood
As is usual with Google’s app updates, the rollout will be gradually trickling down to more and more devices in the coming days, so it might be a while before the update shows up in the Play Store for you. Impatient folks can grab the APK file from the links below and update manually, by transferring the file to their device and installing it via a file manager (be sure to enable installation from unknown sources in Settings » Security).