One of the last big advantages that Hangouts had over other messaging platforms was the ability to integrate SMS messages into a user's queue along with messages on the platform. While this didn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things and most sources say Hangouts is dying, the feature itself is quite nice to have, for those of us who have dumbphone-toting friends, don't want to use our data plans for messaging or love using short codes, for one reason or another. Picking up on that, Facebook has integrated SMS messaging into their Messenger app, according to a post from their product manager, David Marcus.
In Messenger, one can enable text messages over SMS in their settings menu just as easily as they may change around their Messenger notification. The app has to be set as the default on the device in order to use the SMS capability, and, like any other SMS app out there, can auto-retrieve MMS messages for later viewing. It does, however, have a strong advantage over almost every other SMS app out there; almost all of the usual Facebook Messenger features can be used in text messages. The app converts things like emoji and sound files in real time, allowing users to receive them on the other end over SMS and MMS protocols, even on a dumbphone. SMS chat threads look just like your regular Facebook messages and sit among them, just like in Hangouts.
With this move, Facebook has the power to be your one-stop-shop for messaging, unless you have friends who shun Messenger and use other platforms such as LINE, Hangouts or Telegram. This move comes on the heels of Facebook letting users know that its mobile web interface will soon lose its messaging capabilities, and gives users who will be losing out motivation to download the app. On the other hand, those who still have no interest in the app will likely end up on other platforms, increasing the likelihood that you will have to use multiple chat apps to cover your entire list of friends. The update for Messenger is live in the Play Store in a large number of countries right now, with a global rollout underway, but the post did not mention when or if the iOS version of the app would be seeing the feature.