Hangouts Urges to Use Messenger for SMS

The strange product policy continues. Hangouts, the chat and messaging app from Google, urges users after the latest update to use "Messenger" for SMS and MMS.

Messenger is a chat app for SMS. It offers a wide range of features that users of Hangouts can only dream of. Audio-messaging e.g.
While before, Hangouts was suggested for SMS, too. It was a logical move to unify messaging. All over now. That is not a very encouraging move and raises again a question: Where is Hangouts going? It loses ground against competing services, which all offer modern features like sending audio-messages and better stickers. Facebook e.g. even offers to send money with it's messenger.

There is something going very wrong with Hangouts. The most wanted features are certainly:
  • audio messages
  • end to end encryption for specific messages
  • more stickers
  • easier find and contact people in your phone directory
But most important: Get the missing notifications fixed!

At least the Version 7 of Hangouts got some minor improvements. You can now reply directly from the notification.
Very handy is the new shortcut directly to a conversation. This is very nice to chat with the most important contacts right away, as a click opens the conversation and you're ready to type.

If you're concerned about me, the continuing little updates are nice, but it won't keep Hangouts fall falling back behind of the other messengers. I can't believe Google employees don't recognize this. And if they do, the question is if there is not enough interest at Google to push this. What's wrong.
But giving an SMS/MMS messaging app features that are much needed in Hangouts is the wrong signal.