Google adds SMS functionality to Hangouts app

After months of speculation, Google has added SMS support to its Hangouts app on Android devices.

The feature was expected to be introduced alongside Android 4.4 which Google says will allow people to change their default SMS handler, reports

Though rather than wait until its new operating system is ready for a public launch, the search giant has decided to give Hangouts its own spot in the limelight by prepping the release of a new update.

Android owners can now use the app to send and receive text messages without having to go through a separate program.

Direct marketers will be pleased to hear that messages are delivered to Hangouts in the same way that regular messages are, which means people will have few struggles trying to adapt to the new system.

In other changes to Hangouts on Android, Google has also added geographical sharing for allowing people to tag their current location. says one of the other 18 new features includes support for animated GIFs, while users have been told to look out for improvements to video calling over the “next few weeks.”  

All of the features have been confirmed and are expected to come available over the coming days.