Use Hangouts+SMS

HPSIt has been a while since SMS was enabled in the Hangouts app for Android.  In some devices like the Nexus 5, it now is the only SMS app that comes installed.  However, this remarkably versatile combination seems to be rather underused, with many users disabling the feature after seeing annoying double notifications, going back to the “Stock” messaging app.

In fact, they would be missing out on a lot of messaging power:

  1. Hangouts automatically detects which contacts are online and automagically switches to Chat from SMS and vice versa = potential savings on your SMS bills.
  2. You can log in to an multiple devices with the same Google ID – and your Hangout chats will be replicated across all of them, including Android, iPhone and even iPad.  This is something very few messenger apps provide (Whatsapp and WeChat – I’m looking at you!) , and is super convenient, especially since:
  3. A Hangouts desktop app is also available, with the Google Chrome browser

Consider this:

You start a chat on mobile and suppose you need to send a photo which is currently on your PC. You can just open chrome -> hangouts, and send it to the same chat thread, which will be instantaneously synced with the desktop app, and then come back to mobile to continue the rest of the chat!

And you can do this with any combination of devices, to which you have logged in with your Google ID.

But to achieve all this chat mojo, there are a couple of additional steps you need to do, in addition to enabling SMS in Hangouts:

  1. Disable the notifications in any previously installed SMS app. The option should be available in its settings menu.  This will prevent double notifications.
  2. Open the Google+ app in your Android device at least once, and allow when it asks permission to sync contacts to your device. Hangouts works with Google+, and once sync is enabled, it will get automatically updated with contact details from your Google+ account, which is perfect.

In addition,

  • To continue chats on desktop, open the Chrome web browser and install Hangouts from the Chrome web store.