It's been a few weeks since Google rolled out the integration of Google Voice into Hangouts SMS. I haven't written about it until now, because with something so mission-critical (at least in my day-to-day work), I wanted to give it a little time to settle before recommending the move.
If you use Google Voice for SMS, as I do, you'll probably like this update. Once you complete the transition, you'll be able to reply to SMS messages sent to your Google Voice number by using Hangouts, and your Google Voice number will be used for the outgoing messages as well.
Among other things, this will make using an Android Wear watch compatible with Google Voice when replying to SMS messages.
You will also be able to send SMS messages using your Google Voice number to SMS recipients using the Hangouts app on mobile devices and the Hangouts extension to Chrome on your desktop or laptop. All you need to do is tap the SMS icon in Hangouts and the message is sent via SMS rather than via the Hangouts instant messaging protocol.
My migration experience was very smooth. Although I took the extra time to take some screenshots (see below), all I needed to do was approve one of the four "do you want to migrate" prompts that showed up. Clearly Google wants to make sure you make the change.
Here are the prompts that showed up in my Google Voice Web page and my Gmail Web page:
And here are the prompts that showed up in my Google Voice app and my mobile Hangouts app. I approved the transition in the Hangouts app, and there I was, up and running.
Here are a few quick notes. You must not remove your Google Voice app from your phone, even though you won't be using it anymore. It's used as part of the Google Voice integration and the SMS breaks if you don't have it on the phone.
Second, go into Hangouts settings on your phone, tap SMS and make sure the "Send SMS from" prompt is set to send from your Google Voice number.
Third, go ahead and download the Hangouts Dialer app from the play store. You can now make outbound calls using your data connection and the Dialer respects your Google Voice number.
Finally, if you have the Google Voice Chrome extension in your browser, you can remove that. Just make sure you have Hangouts. Now you can send and receive SMS messages from the same interface where you send Hangouts and Google Chat instant messages.
So far, I'm liking it. What about you? Have you made the jump?