Google switches focus back to SMS with new mobile OS

The latest version of Google’s mobile operating system (OS), Android 5.0, will come equipped with a new SMS feature.

In the last version of Android, known as ‘KitKat’, SMS capabilities were integrated with Google’s own web-based messaging service, Hangouts. This meant that conversations could be carried over from one format to another without the user having to change apps.

After receiving negative feedback from users, however, it has decided to separate the two again by introducing a dedicated tool simply called ‘Messenger’. This will come as the default SMS tool with all downloads of the new platform when it starts to become available tomorrow (Friday 17).

When Google first launched Hangouts in 2013, it did so with the intention of unifying Android users’ messaging services. One year later, though, it appears that the move didn’t quite pay off. Despite the lack of engagement, it’s not set to be dropped just yet.

A spokesperson was quoted by as saying: “Messenger and Hangouts offer users choice, each have their own benefits. Hangouts work great for cross-platform and cross-medium communications. Messenger will be specially designed to be a quick and easy way to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on Android.”

In keeping with its tradition of naming operating systems after sweet food items, Google has dubbed Android 5.0 ‘Lollipop’, reports. Previous versions have included Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread and Jelly Bean.