Here's a feature that most of us didn't know about, I bet. Just to be clear, Google is not killing SMS in Hangouts. If you still use Hangouts for SMS, then you're fine. But in countries like Guam, India, etc, where mobile networks aren't as big as they are in the US and other countries, Google had a feature where Hangouts messages were forwarded as SMS messages. Of course that was only when the user didn't have a data connection. It appears that because Hangouts supports SMS now, that Google doesn't really need to use this feature in Hangouts anymore. It might be a big deal in these emerging markets like India and Guam, but for most of us, we probably had no idea it even existed. I know I didn't. This does not affect your SMS messages at all, for those using Hangouts as their messaging app, just a reminder.
For those of you in these countries where this feature was really popular, you may see less Hangouts notifications, it all depends on how good of a connection you have. But it shouldn't be an issue, actually. So it's not what we wanted to hear from Google. As we are still awaiting the Google Voice integration into Hangouts, which should happen soon. But there's changes afoot here with Hangouts. Hopefully we see more soon with Hangouts and Google Voice though.
If you want more information, you can check out the Google OS blog post which is in the sources below. This isn't a Google blog, but an unofficial one, and they notice quite a bit of changes, so it's a good idea to add them to your feeds, if you still use RSS readers. How many of you in these emerging markets have used the SMS fallback feature in Hangouts? Is it going to be a big deal that it's gone now? Let us know in the comments below.