Google has sent notifications out to G Suite customers that in starting next week, a warning will show up in Google Hangouts that SMS will no longer be supported. That support will end on May 22nd. The notification and change is part of the overall strategy of Google to move their G Suite customers to the new Google Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat while leveraging Android Messages for SMS on Android devices. For consumers, the focus is on Google Allo and Duo to meet these communications needs.
For those readers who are on Project Fi (I am one of them) or using Google Voice, this change does not impact you. This change only impacts G Suite customers who are using carrier numbers to send and receive SMS messages. This fits along with what Google told me earlier this month at the Google Next Cloud event in San Francisco.
At Google Cloud Next, I attended a breakout session on the new Hangouts Meet and Chat apps. In the Meet breakout I specifically asked about the impact of these new apps to Project Fi customers
and was told that there would be no change in use for Fi customers. The only change was that, at least internally, Google Hangouts as we know it is referred to as Hangouts Classic. In the Hangouts Chat breakout, I spoke with a product manager after the session and asked the same question. Effectively I go the same response: There will be no change in functionality for Project Fi customers.
To be fair, a lot of Fi customers have moved to other SMS apps. Others, like me, leverage Hangouts for SMS because I get them in the Hangouts app for my Chromebook and on my Macbook in the Chrome browser. It gives me access to my messages no matter which device is on hand at the minute.
All of this, of course, can change. Google, by their own admission, has a problem around messaging and they are trying to clean it up. It is possible that Fi customers will eventually be impacted by this change coming to Hangouts Classic but, for now, it is a steady road ahead.