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RIP Google Hangouts, you’re more worthy




Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Google Hangouts was one of Google’s best chat apps. It boasted many useful and innovative features that still exist in other apps today. This is an interesting fact. When Android Authority was a young and small company, we actually did most of the communication over a period of time in Google Hangouts group chat. Tens of millions of people around the world used it, and many of us refused to leave until Google kicked us out. Despite its small but very loyal fan base, Google shuttled Hangouts across the Rainbow Bridge.

Here’s everything you need to know about the rise and fall of Google Hangouts.

Google Hangouts: A brief history

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Let’s start with a brief history of Google Hangouts. It starts with a solid product launch with many features over the next few years. Then it degenerates into a random and rambling story of a company that didn’t know what it had and how to use it. fun. Initial: 2011-2013

Hangouts started as part of the Google Plus experience. You can chat with other users, make video chats, and use the Hangouts on-air service to broadcast video chats to other users while using the app. At the time, the only part of the site called Hangouts was video chat and broadcast services. The messaging part of the service was called the huddle.

This service existed in many forms from 2011 to 2012. Various improvements have been made, including various UI changes and integrations to make user interaction easier. However, it remained connected to Google Plus as part of the social media experience. It often created headlines that would make random people talk to astronauts. Sensational headlines and smooth functionality were felt years before that era. In a way, it added to the excitement of the platform.

Everything changed when Hangouts was spun off to its own app on Google I / O in 2013. There was a chat function and a video chat function. Hangouts was supposed to include SMS, but it was updated in late 2013. It also came with native cross-platform support for both video, voice, and text chat, which was rare at the time. Hangouts on air was still connected to Google Plus.

Golden Age: 2014-2015

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Middle age is a time when Hangouts really shines. It has become middle-aged with solid voice, text, and video chat services, in addition to SMS and MMS support. The era of Hangouts began with the integration of SMS and Hangouts chat for cleaner usability. Several updates in 2014 have eliminated bugs, gradually added features, revamped the UI, and added the ability to call real phone numbers. The desktop version of Hangouts won the chat head a year after Facebook introduced this feature. You understand the idea. 2014 was a time of significant growth in Hangouts.

In 2015, Google officially abolished Google Talk (the company ended this process in 2017) and put all its eggs in Hangouts. This also started the phase of Google Hangouts. Google has attempted to allow you to chat with businesses through Google Search. There was also an integration with Google Now (later the Google Assistant), which was introduced in mid-2015. Google also allows you to give presentations in Hangouts. With the curtain closed, the app has moved from version 2.4 to 5.0. This included a number of bug fixes, performance improvements, and UI tweaks. During this time, the app has passed 1 billion downloads. Things seemed to be going very well and the users were generally happy.

Troublesome year: 2015-2016

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Unfortunately, the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 are when things start to unravel. Later this year, bot-heavy new chat service whispers will be mixed in, with other whispers removing SMS support in favor of Google’s new SMS app (and the first successor to Google Hangouts). I talked about. The former will one day be Google Allo, the latter will support Google’s new SMS app, and eventually Messages by Google, Google’s RCS, SMS, and MMS apps.

2016 was the beginning of Google’s war on its own chat service. We didn’t know that yet.

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

In early 2017, Google got even more attention with the launch of Google Meet and Hangouts Chat, the successors to the 4th and 5th Hangouts. This will be the 5th and 6th messaging app that Google launched in 4 years. Google officially removed SMS support in May 2017 and never looked back. Google tried to tell everyone that Hangouts wouldn’t go anywhere (again), but when I read the linked article, what Google actually said was where people actually wanted to go Hangouts. Hangouts didn’t go to.

Read Next: How to Use Google Meet

In about five years, Google has released a total of six chat apps. They were Hangouts and were then the five direct successors to Hangouts.

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

And now here we are in 2021. Google sent a message to Hangouts users in August. They need to move to Google Chat, the successor to the sixth and last Hangouts. This is actually the fourth successor (Hangouts chat from 2017). Yet another product. That’s it for now. Update the article when a final shutdown occurs.

What Google Hangouts did right

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Google Hangouts did a lot right. It was launched in an era when messaging apps were just beginning to find themselves. On paper, the product did a lot of things right. Let’s take a look at some of the great things about Hangouts. Cross-Platform Support: Hangouts had some of the best cross-platform support for messaging apps. Most messaging apps have caught up, but when Hangouts was first released, this was a pretty big problem. It was on a desktop or laptop computer with Android, iOS, and a web browser, regardless of operating system. Strong integration with Google: Gmail and Google Plus give you access to Hangouts. Being able to send messages to people and email to the same web page has become a great productivity tool. Putting it in the same place as social media has made it a great communication tool. Powerful features: Google Hangouts can perform all of your text chats, SMS, MMS, video chats and voice calls. You can also do all of this in a group chat. At the time, this was a very powerful set of features that most other messaging platforms couldn’t emulate. It has caught up with current technology: Hangouts has always been Android Nougat’s quick reply feature and messaging with the Google Assistant (then called Google Now) while Google is actively trying. First integrated with new Android features. Everyone had it: The Google Hangouts account was attached to your Google account. Most people with Android devices have a Google account, so I didn’t really have to sign up for Hangouts. It made the process much easier because it was already there.

I don’t hear this much. However, in 2013, few competitors could work perfectly with Google Hangouts in terms of baseline capabilities. In addition to the list above, Hangouts was really easy to use. The chat was neatly arranged. Most of the menus were easy to understand. Conversation lists are rarely cluttered or unmanageable. It was very easy for my mother to be able to use it.

With a solid feature set and the first feature of Android’s new features, Google Hangouts is often ahead of the competition.

In short, Hangouts did a great job of hitting the comfort zone of millions of people. Many people love Hangouts and can’t quantify it because it made Hangouts unique. Almost any messaging app can now run like Hangouts. Hangouts did it more comfortably than in most cases.

Google Hangouts was wrong

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Of course, if everything were the sun and the rainbow, this article wouldn’t exist. This is how I think Google has ruined Hangouts. If you want, you can add your own reason to the comment. Google gave up in just two years: this is probably the biggest problem. This app was released in 2013 and was Google’s flagship chat app. By the end of 2016, Google had launched a messaging ID crisis and had three other chat apps (Messages, Allo, Duo). That number does not include obsolete Google Talk. Hangouts has been updated for some time since then, but hasn’t received much attention since 2015. Competitors have caught up: The appeal of Hangouts was its powerful set of basic features. Unfortunately, for Google, the concept of group video chat isn’t unique, and eventually the big dog caught up with Hangouts. Since then, Hangouts didn’t do much to move the envelope forward, allowing competitors to overtake Hangouts with features such as true end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages. Google’s identity crisis has confused everyone. By the end of Hangouts, Google had released six other messaging apps. It does not include platform-specific apps such as YouTube Messenger, Google Maps Messages, and integrated chat such as Google Photos and Google Docs. To be honest, it’s difficult to track. Hangouts was in the limelight for only a short time. Otherwise, I competed with something else that Google was doing. Google didn’t pitch to consumers: Hangouts wasn’t for mainstream use. Google could have made it more consumer-friendly with stickers, themes, filters, and other fun little additions. As far as I know, there were only dark and light themes to match the classic green layout. The company has never sold this app to a wide range of users. By default, the company just pushed the app into an Android smartphone and never said a word about it. Various other criticisms: Hangouts was nothing more than a blame. It faced many criticisms of persistent bugs, lack of proper encryption, and even criticized XMPP for being abandoned and unusable in multi-chat apps like Pidgin. The integration with Google Plus has forced people to use their real names for some time, limiting their privacy. These small issues have been plagued throughout the life of Hangouts.

Humans practice Hagiography fairly consistently. We tend to remember good times and want to get rid of bad times. Many people feel the same about Hangouts. This was the best chat service Google has ever created. However, the bugs are so frustrating that I clearly remember the day I sought an alternative to Hangouts. Google Hangouts didn’t always sail smoothly.

Google Hangouts: Legacy

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Google Hangouts is no longer available as a physical product. Many of its features will continue to be available in other products. Hangouts pushed boundaries in an era when they needed to be pushed up. The impact of Google Hangouts wasn’t that great. After all, there are many messaging services that have left a mark on the messaging ecosystem. For example, Discord has revived the dead chat room scene. The rivalry between Signal Private Messenger and Telegram has helped raise awareness of the benefits of encryption.

In contrast, Hangouts has had a number of implications for the industry. When we launched, we launched with text, voice and video chat. It also had group versions of all these chats and excellent cross-platform support. This was a rare feature set when the app was released in 2013. Since then, most services have been improved and adapted. Facebook Messenger added individual and group video chats in 2015. WhatsApp continued in 2018. Speaking of WhatsApp, the company added a website version in 2015. Viber added video calls in 2014, Telegram added features in 2021, and Discord added features in 2017.

Read also: The best alternative to FaceTime on Android

Google Hangouts was ahead of its time when it came to what should be natively included in messaging apps. Hangouts are decreasing, but to be honest, almost every other messaging service can do the same thing these days. Currently, there are many decent alternatives. That wasn’t the case in 2013.

Google Hangouts was a solid product at the time with many innovative features. However, like Google Plus, it felt more like a tech enthusiast’s home than a mainstream product. It did move the needle. But it didn’t move enough needles to convince people to leave other chat apps. The chat app remains in our memory, even if Google forgot it years ago.




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