On many of the press shots of the Nexus 6, there’s a new application in the phone’s dock next to the phone icon. The app is called Messenger, and at first glance, it makes sense to think it’s something that could replace Hangouts and finally merge everything into one single application. However, according to Google, that’s not the case. Not yet, at least.
When asked about whether the new app would handle all communication on the phone, including Hangouts and SMS/MMS, a Google spokesperson had this to say:
Messenger and Hangouts offer users choice, each have their own benefits. Hangouts work great for cross platform (web, iOS, Android) and cross medium communications (video, voice,messaging, SMS). Messenger will be specially designed to be a quick and easy way to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on Android; more to come (Nexus 6 will come with both apps).
As of right now, that looks like Google isn’t going to try to force the two apps to converge, even though Hangouts is in the process of adopting Google Voice’s features. We might still see everything come together as one app in the future, but for right now, Google is keeping it separate. Of course, we’re still anticipating Google announcing their own messaging service soon, so Messenger could be the foundation for that.