It's Become Increasingly Tough to Hangout with Google |

It's Become Increasingly Tough to Hangout with Google

The company has shifted from Google Chat to Hangouts to Chat again and all of this is making us feel ready to ditch this conversation altogether


For those of us who began their internet chat journey with Hotmail (later MSN Chat) and similar experiences with Yahoo! and others, Google came as a breath of fresh air when it introduced web chat via Gmail in the mid-2000s. Things appeared so simple that we fell for it, not realizing that Google turned out to be one heck of a chat partner to hangout with. 

Sorry for all those puns (intended and unintended), but the fact is that someone at Google is suffering from schizophrenia or undergoing a rather lengthy bout of procrastination. You may ask what brought about this sudden outrage? Well, the latest is that Google is shutting down Hangouts and moving all of us individual users to Chat.

The announcement came via a blogpost where Google said the migration would start now and users would see a prompt that nudges them over. Just so that you are aware, the company had shut down Hangouts for Workspace users three months ago (in February to be precise) and what's on the works now is just the residue that covers the individual user base. 

What's on the anvil? 

The company says those who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web, the prompt may start only in July, though this author began getting this a week back. Of course, the irony is that given the number of shifts from chats to hangouts to chats, one had given up the thought of a steady relationship with Google - at least on this front. 

The blog post says Hangouts would be available on the desktop site till November with Google confirming that it would start posting warnings a month in advance before moving even those users over to Chat. 

Which now brings us to the dance moves that Google has made. Google had discontinued GChat or Google Talk a month earlier and Hangouts was nominated to be its successor. But, now it appears that the chosen successor has another successor, which appears to be close to what the original was. 

But no, Google Chat isn't the same as GChat, say those who are in the know. Just so that you remember, Google hinted at transitioning users from Hangouts to Chat in 2018 and went on to make it a free app in 2020. To get users to switch over, Google now says it is adding a few extra features including toe ability to make direct calls, in-line thread creation on Spaces, which some of you may recall was known as Rooms. 

A chat by any other name is… 

What makes all of this a bad experiment is that at best it appears to be an attempt to run on a carousel the wrong way. Google Talk came to light in 2005 as an instant messaging service via Gmail. As we said earlier, it was no-frills and worked pretty well and did its voice call feature and the video calls thereafter. 

Google added group chats to this but suddenly decided to shut shop in 2017 and announced that Hangouts would do all of what G-Talk did and more. That Google had started this service in 2014 and seen little or no traction, didn't stop these schizophrenics from knocking off a functioning model in favor of one that wasn't yet proven.  

Three years later, Google did something very Google-like. It rebranded Hangouts to Google Chat in 2020 and replaced the original Hangouts with Google Chat for Workspace users earlier this year. And now, all of us are back to square one! 

Tell me how one can hangout with someone who isn't even sure about their own persona? 

TAGS: Google, Google Hangouts, Hangouts, google chat