As convenient as it is to message your friends with an all-in-one Google messaging app, a unification the platform badly needed, as of yesterday’s announcement we were still uncertain if the new product would support SMS messaging as well. While initially that will remain the case, Google says that a fix is on the way.
SMS messaging is a highly requested feature, and Google knows that. With that in mind, support for text messaging straight from Hangouts to your friend’s phone via SMS will be arriving shortly, according to Hangouts and Chat community manager Dori Storbeck.
There isn’t a definitive timeline on when exactly SMS will be arriving on the messaging app, but Storbeck assures users that it’s coming “soon.”
SMS support isn’t the only feature that’s missing. One-to-one voice calling is also noticeably absent. But Storbeck, responding to questions in her Google+ page, also says Google Voice features are in the works. Right now, you can receive calls to your Google Voice number and answer those calls using Hangouts – however until an update is pushed, you won’t be able to make outbound calls using Hangouts.
She also clarifies a few other details that Google VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra didn’t get to. Hangouts On Air is only available through Google+ – although you can view other people’s HoAs – and can’t be initiated via mobile. However Storbeck says “the team wants to provide the option to initiate HOAs from mobile, they just haven’t gotten to it yet. And I don’t have a specific timeline.”
Oh and in case you weren’t aware, while 10 people is the maximum number of users that can participate in a Hangout, paid Google Apps accounts allow up to 15 partcipants.