Google Hangouts include many features, like the ability to send messages to your contacts or start voice and video calls. It has been used to handle SMS and MMS for a long time, but recent rumors suggested that this functionality was going to be removed. Having this functionality integrated into a single platform was very convenient, as fewer apps would have to be installed and it could combine all kinds of messages into a single conversation. Hangouts v7.0 is the most recent version of the app, it is reportedly rolling out now and after users install it, they are prompted with a screen suggesting them to check out Google's new app called Messenger to send SMS text messages.
This is only a suggestion for now, as Hangouts 7.0 still support SMS functionality and users can easily dismiss the notification, but it certainly seems like Google will stop supporting this kind of messages in a near future. Besides the Google Messenger notice, the changelog for Hangouts v7.0 includes Floating quick reply for messages and the ability to create a shortcut to conversations on the home screen. The quick reply functionality was already rumored, so it's nice to see it enabled in the new Hangouts version. This new feature is quite interesting and it is already available in Messenger, whenever users get the notification for a new message, they can hit the reply button like they have always done and they will see a reply bubble which can be used from any screen to write anything they want to say, and if they don't want to reply from the floating bubble, whatever they had written can be pasted in Hangouts by tapping the button on the top right corner. This only works when the notification for a single message arrives, as if there is more than one message, the reply button is nowhere to be found.
The shortcuts for conversations can be created from the three dot menu within a single or a group conversation, as users will now see the option to "Save to Home screen". This obviously provides a quicker access to some conversations. While these features are welcome additions, the plans for Hangouts seem uncertain as Google has already updated Messenger with current technologies like Marshmallow's Direct Share.