For those of you who thought the rumored and confirmed Google messaging app would be replacing your beloved Hangouts, you can rest easy, as it turns out the solution is really meant as a stock SMS and MMS application instead.
Google does have a history of burning many of its projects (Google Reader, iGoogle, Google Video, Chatback, Google Mini, and the list goes on), so naturally it’s okay to be concerned.
The new app is called simply “Messenger,” which also happens to be the preferred name of Facebook’s Messenger app, and was recently pictured on the Nexus 6 tablet. Google’s Messenger, though, will be sending text and picture messages via carrier networks via SMS and MMS, and so will not be a standalone messaging and calling solution like Hangouts and many others.
“Messenger and Hangouts offer users choice, each have their own benefits,” a spokesperson told the WSJ. “Hangouts work great for cross-platform (web, iOS, Android) and cross-medium communications (video, voice, messaging, SMS). Messenger will be specially designed to be a quick and easy way to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on Android.”
It’s still not clear if Google will do what it’s been doing a lot lately and
require “encourage” OEMs to package its Messenger app with Android devices. Handset makers that want YouTube, Maps and the Play Store installed on their Android devices must also install a handful of less popular apps as well, including Hangouts.