Google’s Hangout App Now Supports SMS

14 Jan

Android’s Google Hangouts app has added text capabilities that promise to be a real boon for SMS marketing managers. Recently-leaked images indicate a few changes to the app, but the real game-changer is the ability to send texts without switching to another program.

In addition to sending text messages, the Hangouts app will be able to share user’s locations and display animated GIFs – all within the confines of the same screen.

The move, which will bring Hangouts into line with the version available on the Nexus 5, was announced at a Google+ event in October. For the most part, the texting experience remains the same, with SMS conversations displayed on a list alongside other conversations. Users can switch between the two channels as they choose.

The update was pre-empted by Apple, whose latest iOS bagged the GIF capability as well as allowing users to make Google Voice calls over a data network.

It’s the SMS support that will be of real use to anyone developing mobile marketing strategies for 2014. Those who adopt SMS technology early, and can incorporate it into their existing apps, will steal a march on their competitors. As with all mobile marketing trends, the trick is to keep your ear to the ground, and your nose to the grindstone.

Interestingly enough, Facebook have just dropped their own SMS support, but it’s unlikely that Google will follow suit. The search giants need to keep providing services that can be used by Android-owners if they want to maintain their powerbase. With the latest updates to Hangouts, they’ve done just that, and have revived the debate on their other apps in the process.

Bur for Android-diehards, Hangouts is a solid app, and the latest changes promise to make it even better, potentially transforming it into the central hub around which all communications spin. This is great news for mobile marketing strategists and regular consumers alike.

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