Google is following WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage by integrating SMS and MMS texts in to its web-based chat app.
According to a report from Android Police, leaked screenshots of Android 4.4 KitKat which show settings that will enable SMS and MMS with Hangouts.
Combining its Hangouts chat service with existing mobile messaging services, will give Google a new way to compete with third-party apps such as the hugely popular WhatsApp.
Google already merged Google Talk and Google+ Messenger into the Hangout app, complete with video calling, but now SMS and MMS are getting incorporated too, including video and picture sharing on MMS.
According to the report, messages sent via SMS will show “via SMS” after the message. The screenshots include a settings menu with a “wireless alerts” section and toggles for auto-retrieve MMS and auto-retrieve while roaming. There’s also an option to switch SMS off for Hangouts entirely.
The Android Police article, written by Artem Russakovskii, states: “Originally, I suggested that the stock Messaging app may be going away in favor of Hangouts, at least on Nexus devices. I am unable to confirm it at this time and won’t be able to until we see final KitKat software.
“However, if I were to speculate, I would suggest that the Messaging app will remain in AOSP, but Nexus devices will skip it and ship with just Hangouts pre-installed. Once again, this part is speculation on my part.”
Read the full Android Police article here