Google+ Hangouts app update fixes costly group messaging problem

December 9, 2013
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Google has just made available an update to its Hangouts app on Android that addresses a glaring issue that might have caused some users some amount of money without noticing it. Now they will have the option to disable sending MMS when sending an SMS to multiple recipients.

Version 2 of Google+ Hangouts gained support for sending and receiving SMS in what could be seen as an attempt by Google to further pull in essential parts of the Android experience into its control. The new feature first appeared on the Nexus 5 via Android 4.4, completely displacing the default Android SMS app. It has eventually trickled down to other devices and Android versions.

It seems that previously, whenever users want to send an SMS to multiple contacts, Hangouts would automatically convert those in MMS, which are, of course, billed higher than a normal text-based SMS. Worse, there was no way to change the behavior. That is, until now. Users can now turn off this feature in the app's settings, which will then presumably fall back to the normal behavior of sending plain SMS regardless of the number of recipients. The update also includes other bug fixes related to SMS support, including the option to import SMS messages again into Hangouts should they not appear in the app.

The update for Hangouts version 2.0.2 is now up on Google Play Store and should be rolling out to users already. Note that some features, and therefore some of the changes, might not be available in all markets.

Download: Hangouts on Google Play Store


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  • Abcdef

    Well, using MMS instead of SMS allows the receipient to do a group reply. In case of SMS it will always be single reply to sender with no idea who else received the original message.