15
May
Hangouts Logo

The new Google Messenger is real! It's not called Babel, or Google Talk, but "Hangouts." It also isn't the unified messenger we've all wanted - maybe it will be someday, but Hangouts is strictly a Google Talk replacement - there's no SMS or Google Voice integration.

What Hangouts does have going for it is that it is really pretty. It supports group messaging, pictures, video chat, and even has read receipts! Hangouts completely replaces Google Talk, so if you have a fondness for the past, say your goodbyes before you update. Let's take a look:

The Hangouts List

wm_2013-05-15-16.22wm_2013-05-15 16.23.49

This is the "front page" of Hangouts. It shows currently open Hangouts and Hangout requests. It's sort of like a chat inbox. Just like Gmail, you can swipe away Hangouts to archive them. Tapping on one will join it.

When you are in a Hangout, you can swipe back or press the up button to get back to this screen, which makes for a lightning-quick way to jump between Hangouts.

Adding People

wm_2013-05-15-20.12wm_2013-05-15 16.14.32

The plus button in the top right will start a Hangout, and you can add however many people you want. Everything pretty much looks and works the same regardless of the number of people, except that you can add additional people to an in-progress group chat, but not to a one-on-one chat, those are private. You can also add entire circles to a group chat, which is handy.

The traditional, single-person instant message use case is where things start to fall apart, though. It's very, very odd starting a one-to-one instant message by selecting people with a "checkmark" UI. You tap on a name, which adds them to the list, and then you have to press the green "Message" button at the bottom. When every other messaging programs treats a contact tap as "start a message now," this feels very cumbersome.

I guess, ideally, you never archive the Hangouts with the contacts you talk to most, so you never have to use the "New Hangout" interface. That's what I'll be doing.

Chatting

2013-05-15 15.25.16wm_2013-05-15 15.26.46wm_2013-05-15 15.49.26

Things are very cool once you actually get in a Hangout. Messages pop up in little card-style boxes, and there is full support for in-line images.

The coolest feature is the little avatars at the bottom of the window, which act as read receipts and show a variety of status functions. A fully colored picture means that person currently has the Hangouts window open. A faded picture means the person has Hangouts closed, and has read the conversation up to the location of his picture, and an ellipsis means the person is currently typing.

Everything is beautifully animated. When someone is typing, their ellipsis hops up and down, and panels and pictures slide all over the place. It's an extremely slick app.

Video, Pictures, And Emotes

wm_2013-05-15 15.38.17wm_2013-05-15-15.37wm_2013-05-15 18.56.10

The video call button will kick you out to the standard G+ interface, and invite others to join. It also displays a nice green bar over top of the chat letting you know that you're missing out on the fun.

The camera button will pop up the dialog in the middle screenshot. You can take a photo on the spot or upload one from the Gallery. The Android app doesn't support animated gifs, though.

wm_2013-05-15 18.56.202013-05-15_19-11-20

The smiley face will open up a ridiculously huge list of emoji. In an attempt to make this list semi-manageable, things are loosely organized into tabs. I have no idea what the categories are supposed to be, though.

Notifications And Settings

2013-05-15 16.31.27wm_2013-05-15 19.21.08wm_2013-05-15 19.21.18

There isn't too much more to hangouts than that. The Hangouts list will show a preview of the latest text or picture, and so will notifications. The menu button will let you snooze all Hangouts, which lets you turn off notifications for a certain time period.

wm_2013-05-15 19.21.23wm_2013-05-15 19.21.33

The settings are pretty standard, except for the crazy "confirm phone number" button in the settings. Hangouts doesn't use your phone number for anything, so why does it want to know my phone number?

...How Do I Tell If Someone Is Online?

wm_2013-05-15 20.12.43wm_2013-05-15 20.14.33

There's actually no way to tell if someone is online in Google Hangouts - there's no online presence information of any kind. Google Talk had different colored dots for friends with idle, or busy, or online statuses, and Hangouts just has nothing. That's a big step back from Google Talk and pretty much every other IM app out there.

This makes hangouts significantly less informative than Google Talk. How can you forget such a basic feature?

2013-05-15 21.16.57

And while we're on the topic of insane things that the Hangout Team has managed to forget: There's no way to start a Hangout from the People app or a People card. The profile icon also don't bring up People cards. It's like they totally forgot about the People app. (Thanks to Ananya Gupta for spotting both of these)

Android Messaging Is Still A Mess

2013-05-15-15.142013-05-125-15.14

At the end of the day, Hangouts replaces one app: Google Talk. Maybe, hopefully, Google+ Messenger will be removed in the next G+, update, but for right now it is still on our phones. Hangouts doesn't integrate SMS or Google Voice in any way, so, at best, Android is down from 4 IM clients to 3.

As much as I would like to gush over a new Google product, Hangouts is a disappointment, there's really no other way to put it. It's a much, much nicer Google Talk, but that's all it is, another instant messaging client. The lack of SMS and Google Voice integration means Google hasn't solved the primary problem with their messaging apps. The lack of online presence is really annoying, and actually make the friends list less functional than Google Talk's. The biggest change over Google Talk is that your iOS frenemies can now get in on the action too, but back in Android land, we are still all waiting for our unified messenger.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • Jezz_X

    couldn't agree more all it is is another cross platform messaging app that wont even install on tablets

  • Dan

    I'm really surprised that there's no way to see if your friends are online or not in the Android version. The decision to remove that functionality confounds me.

    • Victor Loureiro

      There is, dude. Offline contacts' pictures in the app are faded. On the web, there is a (way too) thin green line beneath the pics.

      • http://profiles.google.com/patrickscott52 Patrick Scott

        They're only faded in the contact list and not the active threads list.

        I think they removed the online status from the mobile app because they wanted it to be more like SMS. You don't need someone to be online to send them a message, you send it and they respond whenever they see it. Instant messaging is a bit too intrusive on a mobile device which is always online so I think they wanted to tone that down

        • Victor Loureiro

          That too. Like Whatsapp and I like it.

        • makapav

          It's fucking funny now how they said in their blog - "you can no longer go invisible in the new Hangouts replacement for Google Talk". Hell yeah that cause everyone is forced into becoming invisible by default.

  • aNYthing6

    Amen. All they did was combine Talk/G+ Messenger (not even fully yet) and rename it Hangouts. They took away some great Talk Features (who is online, the ability to be invisible, etc) as well. It might be pretty, but the functionality was not improved in the slightest. I am severely underwhelmed by this.

    • John

      I use the invisible option pretty often. Bummed that feature isn't there.

      • Tyler

        What are you truely missing? It doesn't show if your online or offline and you have snooze, status updates aren't relevant on smartphone imo. Think of this as replacing text messaging.

        • Colin Richardson

          I don't need a replacement SMS.. I have SMS... I laugh at the stupid people on iOS who can't tell the difference between a SMS and an Instant message.. now you are saying they are trying to make us that stupid too?

          • Jason Brown

            only thing thats nice about the sms on ios is imessage. from what i hear is that say for example you're given a new number that you want to text, you're able to just send a regular text and if that person has an iphone then your phone will use imessage to send the text instead of sms. so that added feature would be nice to have. plus having one app where you can text/send pictures and videos/video chat is convenient and one can forgo their texting plan saving them money. since google+ hangouts would use data then wherever there is a wifi hotspot users can connect to that and communicate with people for free which would be nice for people travelling/vacationing aboard.

          • Ryo Cook

            And you absolutely have no control if you just paid for a message or not. Great... No thanks.

          • Zam Zar

            There is a setting to disable SMS altogether, and the messages themselves have a blue send button instead of green and have "iMessage" in the text field if it's an iMessage. You can even tell which of your previous messages were sent via SMS or iMessage because of the color. You have plenty of control over it.

          • Jason Brown

            you can simply tell your carrier to block sms..

          • Ryo Cook

            But then I can't write an SMS if I really want that.
            Look, I want to decide if it's an SMS or not. Easy.

          • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

            There shouldn't be any difference. I wish everyone treated IM like texting.

          • Colin Richardson

            I wish everyone treated SMS like SMS and IM like IM.

          • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

            I don't. That's why I dislike IM. You have to remember to go "Available", "busy", "invisible" and so forth. IF you don't, some people will be in a tizzy if they IM you and don't get an immediate response.

          • Colin Richardson

            Maybe you need better friends?

      • Jason Brown

        what i found interesting was when i was logged into gmail on my computer and gtalk on my phone, gmail would tell me "oops it looks like you're no longer invisible because you're logged into gtalk someplace else" even though the invisible setting was set on gtalk on my phone. i would have to log out of gtalk on my phone to stay invisible in gmail.

        • xnifex

          I saw that yesterday too, which was weird because I didn't update my gtalk

    • Ryo Cook

      No, they combined Hangout (video conferencing e.g.), GTalk, Messenger in an app that now is available for Desktop (Win,Mac,GNU/Linux), iOS and Android.
      Everyone whines about SMS, and no one has mentioned that now adding contacts and communicating is much easier. Isn't that what everypne told you when asking why the heck someone uses WhatsApp?
      Here you have it.

      It's great, looks awesome, has more features (Photo,Video): what do you want more? Outdated SMS... great...

      • didibus

        Talk already had Video chat and even Voice chat. It worked with the gmail browser chat, which made it compatible with Windows, OSX, Linux. It even had a windows client. Adding contacts is not more easy, infact, I never added anyone to Talk, because it just worked with all my Gmail and Google+ contacts automatically. Whatsapp is even better at adding contacts because it just uses phone numbers, you didn't even need an account, just the app on your phone.

        So, when I was telling people I use whatsapp, it was because it does not need an account, and justs uses phone numbers to reach people, making it a SMS on steroids. Hangouts is not an SMS on steroids. Hangouts is just a new IM app, that works a bit differently than Talk, without adding any new feature except gazillions emoji and multiple video chat at once.

        Also, like everyone else said, it only replaced Talk for now, so it didn't even unify G+ Messenger and Talk into one app.

        • Ryo Cook

          On the next Google+ Update the messenger will be gone.

      • gteye

        I'd answer but I don't know if you are online....I'll let you know it's great our not later I guess

        • Ryo Cook

          I have a smartphone, it's 2013, I'm always online. And in the end it even doesn't matter.
          You also don't know if I have my phone with me or powered on when sending me an SMS.

  • Kaero

    Withouot SMS integration I've got absolutely no reason to use this. Nobody I know uses Google Voice or Google+. I'd honestly be happy if there was a decent app that supported SMS and Google Voice.

    • cameron charles

      pretty much same thing here, people i know use voice and plus but not as much as sms having the to separate is just going to keep me out of one of them and it wont be sms

  • Lupe Fiasco

    I agree with everything you said, Though one other thing that is big (I atleast consider it big) is that Talk (Now Hangouts) is now a Play Store App.

    • John

      That's a great point. I never thought about looking at it like that. Let's hope it improves in the near future.

  • http://twitter.com/D_McKenzieJ Daniel McKenzie J.

    I hope Google pays attention. Deeply dissapointed with this!
    Seriously tho, what are they playing at???????????

  • deltatux

    Personally I like having SMS separated from Google Hangouts. Why would I want them to be together? Unless if they are integrated and there's a way to ensure that it doesn't send the message through SMS or the other way around, I'll be happy with that. Until then, I rather have them separated. However, I'm surprised it didn't integrate Google Voice. Hell, us Canadians have been salivating for any news about Google Voice coming to Canada. Sadly, no news...

    • Squiddles

      What if it worked like iMessage. Only using the Talk protocol amongst users who have it while using SMS for those who don't. It could still sync and let you use the web interface and archive messages the way it does right now. That sounds ideal for me, not sure if I've swayed you at all though, haha.

      Maybe it's an issue of replacing a system app at the moment? I'd like to speculate it as a feature for a future Android release. I can only dream of such wonders.

      • deltatux

        That might work but there are those who might only want to use SMS when they're not connected to WiFi and such (in case they have tiny data caps or about to run out of data in their cap). I guess having a toggle would be good or at least the option to integrate them or not instead of forcing it down people's throats.

        • Squiddles

          A toggle would make sense. I'm sure there are those who don't know anyone who use Talk, or use it themselves, as it is right now. It could be a rather complex app to fit the needs of everyone. Though, there is the "this is how we want it" approach. We'll certainly see what comes of it. It could be a mesh of iMessage and whatever WP7/8 wants to call it.

          • Justin Swanson

            Maybe this conversation is the reason we don't have unified messaging yet :P

            Seriously, though. People act as if it's an easy thing but it's very complicated and different users will feel differently about it.

            Some people prefer SMS because they have unlimited texts but very limited data.

            Some people prefer data (messaging) because they don't have a cap or it's very high but very little SMS (or god forbid pay by the SMS).

            Some people want to select whether the message is sent to SMS or the Google account by default.

            Some people want the app to send it over data when connected to wifi, but SMS otherwise.

            Some people will want the app to send an internet SMS (Google voice) instead of an instant message.

            Some people want to separate their Google voice and cell phone SMS.

            These are all settings and options that _need_ to be addressed in a truly unified messaging service. I think Google is approaching this in a phased approach, with phase 1 combing their online/data messaging servers, phase 2 adding Google Voice and phase 3 adding SMS from your cell phone's number.

          • 15yemenroadyemen

            I don't have Google Voice, so I don't know. But what is internet sms? As opposed to instant message

          • Squiddles

            One is SMS and the other is an IM. Seriously. The only reason "internet" is appended to "SMS" is because you can send and receive SMS using a web interface with Google Voice. Just as you would email.

          • Justin Swanson

            Instant message = Google Talk/Messenger, uses a username/email

            SMS = phone number to phone number

            I think I made up the term 'internet SMS', not sure if I've heard it before. Anyway, It's when an SMS is placed over the internet instead of the phone carrier's network. With Google Voice, when I send an SMS, it leaves my phone as 'data' and goes to it's destination phone number as an SMS, via their messaging app.
            If they SMS me back, then I'll get it via Google Voice. Therefore it leaves their phone as SMS, I get it as data.

            Does that make sense?

            Note: If I am wrong, someone please let me know I don't want to mislead someone.

          • Squiddles

            I completely agree! On all points you just brought. I also really hope that the phased approach you brought up is the case here. It makes sense and gives them time to work with the integration for Voice and potentially into Android replacing Messenger.

            Hopefully we aren't scheming up the next Project Roadrunner! :P

          • Justin Swanson

            I didn't fall for Project Roadrunner as much as I wanted the 'customization center'. You know, the ability for Google to upgrade the core Android OS without breaking OEM skins? Yeah... I get sad when I get trolled...

          • didibus

            But those use cases are pretty easy to unify.

            Easiest way I can think of, have a toggle switch, SMS-AUTO-HANGOUT. Have the switch always visible at the top right corner.

            When in SMS, it will highlight contacts that can receive SMS, and will send every message you type to SMS. It won't let you send a message to someone who does not have SMS, but will let you receive, view and read the messages you receive from people on Hangouts. You won't be able to reply to them though, unless they have SMS. All SMS you receive is synced to Google servers, so you receive SMS on your computer too, etc. As long as you have the Hangout service running on your phone.

            When in Hangouts mode, it will do the opposite of SMS mode.

            When in AUTO mode, the most useful mode I think, it will be smart about it. If user has Hangouts, and is connected to internet, so capable of receiving a Hangout, it will send a Hangout, if not, it will send an SMS.

            I feel like most quirks can be resolved. I also feel most of those use cases are stupid, and backwards. The internet is way better at communication. So theoretically, you'd always want to use Hangouts unless you can't. The reason why you can't would be, first and foremost, because you don't have internet right now, or you don't have the hangouts app, in which case, it will SMS as a backup. The only other reasons would be data cap, but like every other app, you could just have an option like: Only on wifi. And combined with the Android automatic data disabler when you reach your cap, that problem is solved. So to me, automatic mode is the only mode I think people need, but you could have a toggle if you really wanted to.

          • Justin Swanson

            I agree with almost everything you've said. You've made some great points, and I believe Google would love to implement something like that, hopefully it won't even require a manual toggle, it'll just ask you a few questions as set up (do you prefer to SMS or IM?) and it'll configure itself for you.

            I have to disagree with this point though:
            "The internet is way better at communication. So theoretically, you'd always want to use Hangouts unless you can't."

            The only reason I would disagree is because there are some countries that have to pay out the ass for data while SMS is free (or close to). They would be the target group for SMS > IM.

    • tylerbrainerd

      Personally, I'd like the option to combine or not based on my preferences.

      That said, I'm positive that this is coming soon.

    • squiddy20

      I agree. SMS and glorified IM (since that is what Hangouts is) should remain separate, at least for now. They're 2 different modes of communication. As its name implies, IM is for when you want an "instant" conversation. SMS isn't like that. Send a message, wait, reply, wait, reply, wait... It could be a few seconds between messages, or days.
      Frankly, if they just did away with the SMS portion of Voice, I think I'd be happier. It is Google Voice after all, not "Google Voice and SMS but no MMS (unless you're on Sprint)".

      • Justin Winker

        I would rather they didn't do away with the SMS portion of it... That's what I use to send messages through my old carrier's phone number (had Verizon, switched to ST, didn't want ST to have control of my phone number). Now, I just give everyone my "old" number which is still available to use. I want them to integrate Hangouts and Voice as well as SMS, but I agree with @deltatux:disqus in that I want the option to prioritize how my messages are sent (i.e. GTalk>Vocie>SMS, if no GTalk available, then through Voice, etc.).

      • didibus

        I think the idea is that, though they are different, they're core functionality is the same. They deliver a message in the format of text, picture, emoji, voice, or video or a combination of all to someone else. But IMs are internet bound, and have social features such as profiles and friends attached to them.

        The way I see it, IMs are old, social networks have taken over the responsibility of keeping a list of friends where your friends themselves provide you with their up to date and customized profile.

        So I personally hoped that Google was going to deliver an app that let me text message, voice message, video message, picture message, chat, voice chat, video chat to anyone with a phone number, or email, or google account. Such app would be smart enough to resort to either internet protocol, sms protocol, or email protocol, to attain the prime goal of delivering my message or chat. And it would be smart enough to read from my phone's contacts list and my google contacts list, to pull profile information from (in the ideal world, it would read from my facebook list too). And in all instances, it would try and have all protocols in sync, and use the best protocol if available.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/109231517488819563639/about Phillip A. Wessels

    I'm still stuck with Google Talk. Google Play (mobile and on the web) says I have Hangouts installed, except I don't. Ugh.

    • Ankit Amin

      Same here

      • http://shanked.me/ Shank

        You can install the apk directly (http://d-h.st/TzS) or you can force it to install from Google Play on the web.

    • Adam Horowitz

      I cleared the data of Google Play Services, and then it worked. Not sure if that's just a coincidence or if it actually made it update, though.

      • johnmiroki

        It doesn't work for me :(

        • Santiago Davel

          Installing from the web ( search for Hangouts on play.google.com) worked for me.

    • ins0mn1a

      yeap, me too.

    • http://profiles.google.com/patrickscott52 Patrick Scott

      I wasn't able to update through the play store app on my phone but when I went to the play store website I was able to manually push it from there

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/109231517488819563639/about Phillip A. Wessels

        Tried there, says I have it installed already

        • http://profiles.google.com/patrickscott52 Patrick Scott

          Too bad :-/

          • Ben Freund

            The fix for this, at least for me and my wife on our Galaxy Nexus AOKP phones... Install titanium (you need root!). Search for Talk. Uninstall talk. Go to the play store on your phone, and you can now search for and install the new hangouts app.

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/109231517488819563639/about Phillip A. Wessels

            Not rooted, and it would be ridiculous to root my phone to update an app by Google lol

        • johnmiroki

          same here. Galaxy Nexus

    • deltatux

      Uninstall and reinstall app. That's what I did. For some devices and/or ROMs, Google Talk is part of the ROM itself. For that, I removed it using a root explorer and just downloaded Hangouts on top.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/109231517488819563639/about Phillip A. Wessels

        My phone is not rooted.

    • Gabriel Fernandez

      What I did was go to the play store on my desktop, and push the hangouts app to my phone from there.

    • Justin Swanson

      I was able to get it installed by using the browser version of the play store.

  • cameron charles

    i like what it does but its not enough.

    also it seems that in the contacts list the same full color image/fded image seems to suggest whose online and whose not, at least it lines up whose online in my browser talk window

    • http://profiles.google.com/patrickscott52 Patrick Scott

      Yeah, I dont know why they went half and half on that - why show status in the contact list and not in the active thread list?

  • Claudio Nicolás Sepúlveda Huer

    I miss the status (avaible, busy, away), and the little android showing that the contact it's a mobile

    • http://twitter.com/sietai Hypothetical Ricotta

      I think the idea is that, assuming everyone has a smartphone, they're always just as available as they would be if you sent them an SMS?

      • Tyler

        I agree when you text someone you don't care if they are looking at their phone, away or whatever. They will get it when they get it and all that means is that they will respond sooner. Whether you know that or not is irrelevant.

        • woj_tek

          one 'but' - with sms you have greater chance that the message will get delivered (i know virtually noone that disabled sms, nor if that's even possible without tinkering and damaging smsc number) but in case of Hangouts you have no indication whether someone is online or not neither if someone is actually connected...

        • didibus

          Well, I wouldn't say that it's irrelevant. It is still very relevant. If I see the guy is online now, and active, I'll expect a quick response, and I can start a different kind of conversion, one that goes like: what's up?
          Where if I see he isn't active, than I will write something like: I'm going to X bar tonight, wanna come?

          • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

            Newsflash, just because someone is online (even if they are showing available) doesn't mean they are ready for a conversation. That's what I hate about IM. I wish people would treat it the way they do text messaging.

      • woj_tek

        If I wanted async comunication without information about availability I would use plain sms or e-mail... this suppose to be INSTANT MESSENGER...

      • rites chetan

        sir, ur idea is hypothetical. when u dont know who's online among 500 contacts of urs, starting a hangout carries no meaning. even if every1 has a smartfone n every1 is available, they may not b signed in or with enabled data traffic. so many iffs n buts..

    • Justin Swanson

      I don't care about the available/busy/away presence. It never meant anything to me anyways because I never know if someone is going to actually respond. Just because they're 'Available' doesn't mean they'll respond. I suppose if they're marked 'busy' I might refrain from messaging them, but I have vary few friends that ever mark themselves as 'busy'.

      • Brian Knapp

        I rely on the status indicators. When my wife is at work and her icon is green, I know she will respond almost immediately. But if the icon is orange I know not to bother or to expect a response right away, Finally, recognize that when it turns from the green webcam to the android or cell phone that she has closed up shop and is on her way home!

        • Justin Swanson

          Are you using the browser or Android version?

          I see on the browser version, there is a green bar below the name of people who are 'available' and no bar below people who are logged off or 'idle'. (comparing G+ with Gmail)

          I don't think the Android version does this.

          However, after reading your post, I definitely think they should bring back some degree of presence awareness.

          • Joel Garnick

            I noticed that, and then noticed that in hangouts the people who have a green bar under their picture in the web show up as a "full color" picture while the others are slightly grayed out...maybe that's their idea of presence information?

          • http://twitter.com/phi phi

            That's a holdover/legacy from current Gtalk/Gmail/Jabber clients. You can't set presence once you've "upgraded"

          • Chad Antinora

            You hit the nail on the head. I just did a comparison of my messenger list in gmail and it corresponds to the green line in the hangouts list. That was very subtle, it doesn't really stand out. And the line just goes away with they are idle/away. I have to say that this isn't a very good indicator as I had to read this article and then go through the comments before I even noticed it...

        • WestIndiesKING

          if it was something important you wanted to tell your wife you would end up sending the message any ways right? I mean either way you can contact her and she will get to you when she will get to you. having the status indicator there is just gives you a reason to get mad at someone if they dont respond to you immediately just because it says they are available. Im sorry but paying attention to all of those details to me puts you in the creepier status. Might as well turn the GPS on and track her down on latitudes.

          • gteye

            Nothing you say can logically argue that taking away the feature is as good thing so just stop before you embarrass yourself even more.

          • WestIndiesKING

            Lol no sir you are the embarrassment. This isnt a feature and more of an annoyance. I get people dont like change but it literally serves zero purpose if you actually used the brain in your head to look at it what it was really for.

            In the case of hangouts it serves no purpose because the users will always get the message whether they want to respond should be up to them. So the purpose of a status is no longer needed. You can send the message and they will reply when they feel it is necessary. Where before would assume a person is available just because they status said they were. Plenty of times i would leave myself logged into gmail account and people would message me where this is no longer the case. Knowing the person status is irrelevant, if you need to talk to them go right ahead and send the message. So as i mention earlier you are an embarrasment to the human race for not being able to draw up the brain power to be able to see the logic behind the move and why ever Messaging client is moving in this same direction. Does your text have a status?

        • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

          What if she's too busy to remember to mark herself "busy"? I've been there.

      • gian

        sucks you're too boring so people don't reply to you.
        but others, like the status indicator, and most IM apps have it. Plus, google talk already had it, whats the point of downgrading. ALSO, there's a status indicator on the google+ website. so why not just goddamn include it in the app?!?

    • pb

      need online presence information, and invisble or do not disturn status !! thats most important than sms...

    • Kerry

      I do, too. I added the hangouts extension to chrome and under the menu options drop down there is an option to send feedback. I sent my comments to google. Hopefully others will, too, and they will add that functionality back.

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    I'm not sure if it's just me, but I think they *do* show online indicators. If you have an ongoing hangout and someone is online, their face isn't faded out on Android. On the desktop version, a green line appears below their face.

  • Emullins

    Mark my words, this app will drive more people to Whatsapp and the like.

    All they needed to do was make Talk a messaging powerhouse. But they blew it. All to bring people to their social network.

    Lame move, Google. I'll be sticking with my trusty combo of Talk, Whatsapp and SMS.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      Hangouts _is_ Talk, mate.

      • Emullins

        Talk is not going away yet, according to the Verge exclusive video. So how can Hangouts be Talk? They're 2 different things according to Google.

        I'll be hanging on to Talk as long as I can until Google fixes Hangouts.

        • Kevin Coppock

          Notice the title. Whatever the Verge says about it not replacing Talk must be inaccurate, as that's about as clear as it gets. :)

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Now here's the craziest thing: I have this very app on the screenshot in my phone (at least that's what the Play Store says) but I don't see it anywhere on the apps list, nor in the menu, not even in the "My apps" list in Google Play ITSELF! And when I go to the page screenshot above, and try to hit open (there's no uninstall button for me, btw) it will just open Talk.

          • johnmiroki

            same here

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Try going to the app on the Play Store website. It solved the problem for me!

          • Andrew Morales

            You need to actually install the newest update, which is rolling out to people. I was able to do it by installing it from the Google Play website. Or find an .apk of it.

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Thanks! The web version of Play did the trick for me.

          • Ben Freund

            You'll likely need to uninstall Talk, and then re-install Hangouts.

          • Kevin Coppock

            Yeah, I had the same issue, it would never update. Seems like they're rolling it out in batches. I had to download the APK from XDA (here's a link to one: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2280940) and install it manually.

    • logan

      how I can access this 'hangout' from web, or other platform, such as low end nokia phone ?

      seems whatsapp still rules so far.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        Well, Google don't need to support low end Nokias if it wants people to move forward to smartphones. Also, the web version will be on Gmail and it currently is on G+.

        • makapav

          Google should have at least supported Windows Phone 8 and BB because there are still a fair number of people on those environments. and without that they are still not competing with Whatsapp at the most basic level.

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Ok, now you have a point. But all boils down to strategy, really. Google is trying to suffocate these platforms, specially Windows 8.

          • makapav

            Google is not in a position to suffocate these platforms. They are trying to enter a market ruled 99% by Whatsapp. They need to offer something that will drive people away from Whatsapp. Fuck that Eric Schmidt uses a BB and the fact they don't have Hangouts for that is underplanning or an immature product launch.

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            There, there. Google has the most popular mobile operating system in the world. If we are to believe Sundar, the most popular browser too. They are famous, rich, trusted by people in general and they're getting traction in lots of different markets with lots of different products. Of course it's going to be tough trying to suffocate WP8, but that's exactly what they're trying to do - by almost completely ignoring it. Of course it's not going to help them conquer many users from Whatsapp, but if Whatsapp is already in Android *they don't have to* :) they have time to conquer these users by iterative updates. I don't think they're really aggressive towards Whatsapp, maybe they're just trying to get their messaging sh*t together and that's a first step.

          • makapav

            I respectfully disagree. This is Google fourth attempt at IM with: Google Chat, Google Talk desktop, Hangout, Messenger and now Hangouts. They have been mucking around with their users faith on mobile for a while now and the only way they can win is by over-delivering. Cutting back features does equate to that INMO.

        • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

          Why are you veering off topic?

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Erm, excuse me? I'm not. The guy downplays hangouts because it doesn't work with low end Nokias. I'm just guessing why it doesn't. And we're all in topic as the post's about Hangouts.

  • Adam Horowitz

    It's difficult to tell, but I believe there is a way to tell if people are online. When looking at your list of friends, some pictures are faded and some are not. The ones that are not faded on mine are the ones who are online; I'm assuming this is not a coincidence.

    Also, on the Hangouts extension for Chrome, there is a small green bar underneath the pictures of those who are online. Should be made a bit more clear, but maybe they'll bring that to the Android app.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/109231517488819563639/about Phillip A. Wessels

    If there is a green line under someone's picture in the Hangouts pane, that means they're online.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      That doesn't actually happen in the Android app.

      Even on the desktop sites, they don't differentiate between idle and offline. There is only active and not active, which makes it useless.

      • http://twitter.com/enarez Ricky

        In the app their profile picture will not be faded if they're online.

        • Jaymoon

          *Fading my profile pic now just for the fun of it*

        • http://www.facebook.com/timgee86 Tim Gueusquin

          That only shows if they have they are looking at the Hangout window. If they are online thru desktop version of gtalk or older version on mobile it doesn't light up until they send you a message.

          • Freak4Dell

            Not true. I have people on the list that have non-faded pictures that I haven't sent me a message yet. I can confirm that they're online by looking at my Talk list in GMail or Trillian. The faded picture is the indicator that they're not online, but the app doesn't show any indication of status (idle/busy/available).

        • Wazzifer

          Wrong.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

          That looks more like people that haven't circled me back. Besides, no one is ever really offline, the important distinction for me is idle/online.

  • Adam Jones

    This is a strangely underwhelming 'update'. The Chrome extension has also become "Hangouts". There is no way to sort the contacts, or hide offline contacts..

    At least there is presence.

  • sahilm

    It's not only that on the mobile app you can't tell who is online, but you also can't get a list of everyone online. They forgot such a basic feature, it's ridiculous.

  • Roberto Elena Ormad

    To all those that don't understand why Google is taking away functionality from Google Talk, the answer is very simple:

    Hangouts wants to be WhatsApp/Line/Viber. There is no online or invisible status in those services. They are like SMS, where you send a message without asking beforehand if the other person is available to chat. The second change in the same direction is that if you register your phone number with Hangouts, anybody that knows your number can send you a message, like SMS/WhatsApp/Line/Viber

    • Victor Loureiro

      I was thinking the same, but I have no one to check it with right now. However, I noticed you can't set you status too, wich means your are always reachable, as long as you're signed in - thus it must be like Whatsapp and such.

    • http://profiles.google.com/patrickscott52 Patrick Scott

      Yup, I think that's what they were going for! They kept the online status on the web based version so it would be still be usable as a traditional desktop IM client but online status isnt that useful for mobile users since they're always online anyway

    • http://twitter.com/desean84 Desean

      There is actually a new setting on Google account setting where Hangout will SMS you chats from Hangout when you are idle.

      I believe that is the only use for registering our numbers in Hangout for now.

      • Ramit Suri

        Where is it ? I can't seem to find what you're saying.

        • Jerecho

          Top right corner of any Google page = your username e.g. ramit@gmail.com, with a little dropdown arrow beside it. Click on arrow. Click on "Account", which is next to "Privacy". Second section down the middle of the page which loads then, in huge letters: SMS for Hangouts.

          In other words, exactly as Desean said: in GOOGLE. ACCOUNT. SETTINGS.

          Wow look, you learned something new today. And maybe tomorrow you'll be able to tie your shoelaces on your own, big boy!

          • Ramit Suri

            :P.. Thanks.. I mixed it up with SMS integration and thought that the settings were in the Hangouts app.

        • http://twitter.com/desean84 Desean
      • Roberto Elena Ormad

        Could be, I don't know. I tried starting a conversation in Hangouts with a phone number and it told me that there was no user with this number and asked me if I wanted to send an sms invitation instead. That's why I thought that if this person would have had it number registered I could have started a normal conversation. I might be wrong.

      • Roberto Elena Ormad

        I have just confirmed it.

        I created a new conversation typing a mobile number from one of my friends, the only one right now that uses hangouts. The app finds the contact, because I have his phone number in my contacts but also allows the option to "add by phone". The end result is the same, I can start a conversation with my friend, because my friend has registered his mobile phone number with hangouts.

        Then I tried the same but using his home number. Again, the app finds my friend, because a also have his home number in my contacts list, but when I choose "add by phone" I get the message "we couldn't find anyone with +349xxxxxxxx on Hangouts. Would you like to tell +349xxxxxxxx about it via SMS?"

        There you have it, maybe those numbers will be used in the future for sms integration and other options, but right now they are using them exactly as WhatsApp/Viber/Line.

    • Jerecho

      If so, my question is this:

      Why should *anybody* adopt a WhatsApp clone?

      Cross-platform
      was why I was waiting so eagerly for this - the ease and convenience of
      being able to type something on a fully featured keyboard to be sent to
      somebody's phone, complete with lots of emoji and which, being native
      to the system, wouldn't be a battery-guzzler like the eternally-fugly
      Skype ...

      ... only to find out that the caveat for using Hangouts
      on PC is having a G+ profile; and simply having a Google account isn't
      enough.

      I don't want to be searchable. I don't like people
      adding me without my consent. I don't want the circles I've added and
      the people/circles which have added me (possibly without my consent, to
      re-emphasize) to be searchable. I am inordinately fond of privacy. In
      other words, I don't want to use G+.

      Now, give me a reason to use Hangouts over Whatsapp/Line/Viber.

      • IrishSid

        Dicks like you aren't their target demographic.

        • Jerecho

          Such persuasively *penetrative* discourse you have there, Mr IriShit.

          I shall indeed join G+ posthaste, so I may forthwith be able to bask in the presence of such noteworthy luminaries as yourself.

      • Ryo Cook

        Because if you have privacy issues with G+ and using WhatsApp, I can only rotfl. Seriously. If you have any security or privacy concerns, delete that WhatsApp crap immediately.

      • Roberto Elena Ormad

        Well, all of those services have their strengths and their weaknesses... For example, Line can make voice calls but WhatsApp can't. I don't need voice calls, so I will not switch from WhatsApp to Line, but for others this is a real advantage. At the end of the day it is a matter of personal needs and preferences. For me the best feature of Hangouts is keeping an archive of your conversations in the cloud, which WhatsApp can't. I use an app that automatically uploads my conversations and pictures to Google Drive, but I would happily adopt Hangouts over WhatsApp just for this feature. Unfortunately, in Spain, although more than 90% of new smartphone purchases are Android, not many people will use it, so I will keep WhatsApp for the foreseeable future.

    • woj_tek

      yup, it's all-google-again with 'we know better'... newsflash - if I wanted to use whatsapp/viber I would, but I wanted to use GTalk with having online status, indication wheter someone is on the phone and ability to use XMPP client of my choosing....

      • Roberto Elena Ormad

        I'm sorry. It sucks when a service goes in a direction that somebody doesn't like, but I personally like it. The reason: Nobody here (Spain) uses Google Talk (not many people use even Gmail) so I couldn't use it as a chat service with my friends. If Hangouts is more like WhatsApp/Line, used by EVERYBODY in Spain, then maybe more people will start using it. I would prefer a Google product over those too for the integration with other Google products and in general because I prefer to have as many online services as possible under one account, my Google account.

        • woj_tek

          sorry, really sorry, but ROOOTFL. So everybody in Spain (love the country!) use whatsapp/line/viber/etc (because your mobile operator rips you on text), noones care about gmail nor gtalk and then you think that with this change (or rather 'complete break of functionality) google will magically sweep the market? Don't' think so. Why? In Poland we have our local IM - GaduGadu, basically everyone use it and even despite the fact that it had problems that the servers were down for a couple of days, you are limited to the number (like in ICQ), you were limited to length of your status message, there was a spam filtering that basically prevented you from sending links, the client itself was packed with advertisement, even flash! (there were a hacks to remove them) and the app used like 0,5gb or ram... still majority of the folks here use it. Despite that a LOT of people have gmail account and use it regularly. Of course after a few years of persuasion form the tech folks, they enabled chat and added it to multi-IM or enable it on the mobile discovering that a lot of people use other XMPP servers and they can communicate. But still - it took time and it was suppose to be IM, not some kind of replacement for text. Why? because in Poland we can have unlimited texing for something around 2€ monthly and given that SMS is ubiquitous, contrary to Google services, it's a better option.

          So - why break perfectly good Instant Messenging service for a lot of folks just to create the impression that we are creating something wanted? SMS replacement is already here and people use it.

          This is the GoogleWay recently - "oh, look, facebook, social network - we want that", "oh, whatsapp - we want that"...

          tl;dr - chances that actually someone in Spain switch from whatsapp to hangouts are very slim.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ZaprenKostadinov Zapren Kostadinov

    For everyone who keeps asking for G Voice to be a part of a unified app - please stop. G Voice is only available in the US and simply cannot be integrated within a system app. It just can't.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Your argument is that Google wouldn't do something US-centric? lol

      • http://www.facebook.com/ZaprenKostadinov Zapren Kostadinov

        I'm saying they don't want to do it at least until voice is available more widely. Every other messaging app works everywhere.

    • Ben Freund

      I think it is pretty clear that G Voice is GOING to be integrated into Hangouts but it just isn't ready yet. When I installed hangouts today, it let me associate it with my GVoice number ;-)

  • dirtyid

    Unify google maps, streetview, earth, 3d buildings, aerial views, ocean topography, space? No problem.

    But combine messaging... I swear everyone at Google has Asperberger.

  • cameron charles

    i noticed when it asks you to verify your mobile number it makes mention of using this as a way for people to find you, seems like perhaps we can add new friends using an number, havent tested that though and hopefully its a sign of sms to come :s

    • ERIFNOMI

      You can put a mobile number instead of a name when starting a chat. If that person hasn't used Hangouts, you can opt to text them to tell them to try it out.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/109231517488819563639/about Phillip A. Wessels

        In other words, "FUQ SMS!" says Google.

      • cameron charles

        ah thats what i though would happen, thanks for confirming, hopefully its a sign of things to come

    • Ryan Andes

      You can set hangouts to forward via SMS if you're signed out or idle. It's in your Google account settings

  • Alain Alemany Arana

    I don't know what happened with the lack of online presence. I mean the green, red and yellow icons are the ABCs of chating... so I think they got drunk in that part :(

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      Everyone keeps saying this, but what do you mean by online. Do you want an indicator that they're currently viewing the hangout? If so, that's there. Do you want an indicator that they will get your message right away? No need, everyone gets your message right away because it goes through as a notification if they're not in the app.

      I'm just really confused by this particular complaint, and I think it primarily comes down to complaining because it's different without actually thinking about what you would use this online/offline thing for (or even if it makes sense at all to consider someone online or offline in the new app).

      • http://profiles.google.com/cedric.berger74 Cédric Berger

        Because not everybody will have their phone close enough / with notifications loud enough, to notice your messages.
        Most of my contacts do not use their phone/gtalk enough for sending them a gtalk message to be reliable (ie. I cannot be sure enough they will notice anytime soon).
        But when I can see they are online (not often for a lot of them), it is an important information.
        And even better, the green active status tells me they are likely to notice my messages, their phone is less likely to be at the bottom of their bag, not to be checked for the rest of the day.
        Not to mention the red "busy" status which is very informative.

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          That doesn't make sense - it sounds like you're wanting some kind of indicator that tells you if the person is near their phone. This didn't exist before, and I'm not sure how well it would work now.

          • Jon D

            The indicator tells you if a contact is actively using Gmail on a computer, which suggests that it's a good time to start a conversation with them.

            I get that the new app is meant to compete with the likes of WhatsApp and SMS and thus doesn't "need" online/offline indicators, but in my mind Google Talk works best for longer conversations, collaborating on projects, discussing homework, etc. These are conversations that you don't want to start if the other person is not online and at a computer.

            For instance, if I want to ask someone about a point made during a college lecture, I want to be able to quickly glance at who's online, available, and at a computer, suggesting that they have their notes handy, and then IM them for a quick answer. I wouldn't randomly SMS people in my class and hope for a quick answer, and I certainly wouldn't do it in Hangouts either.

      • sdcoiner76

        It is helpful because it shows that someone has the capability of video chat or voice chat. Also it takes all your contact info so if someone you know that does not have Hangouts on their phone it sends it to their email. If I wanted to send an email I would have sent one.

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          That's unrelated to the online/offline thing though. I agree that indicators like that would be useful, but I'm talking specifically about the complaint people have regarding the lack of online/offline status.

          • sdcoiner76

            I don't think the online/offline thing is that big of a deal either but If it showed someone as online I would know that they actually use Hangouts and that I would not just be sending messages to their email. Of course that need would be eliminated if they would just show contacts that could be reached on Hangouts rather then every contact you have in your contact list and every person you have circled (and group them together).

      • Alain Alemany Arana

        Well, the UI isn't intuitive at all. I think it break some design and UI rules. Since the beginning of everything, the + symbol means add contact, add a conversation, add anything... but add and nothing more than add; in this case hitting that button leaves you to the contact list.

        Regarding the online presence, I can't know when a contact doesn't want to be disturbed (red), is just online (green) or simple is away (orange)... for me that's pretty annoying. Not to mention the green, red or orange little Android... which I'm so used to.

        About chat windows, or in this case hangouts, you can't just close them, you have to delete them or achive them... and I don't like that. There's no option to close the conversations you're having. This one might sound dumb from me, I just think if it was in Gtalk, why not here.

        So far this is what bugs me, but if you found the new Hangouts, then congrats... it's simply not my case :(

        Best regards.

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Deleting them is the same as closing them unless I'm missing something important. Or do you mean you want to temporarily hide them for some reason?

          • Alain Alemany Arana

            It's not the same, once I delete a conversation, I won't see it again. They just changed some philosophies.

            What do you think about the other things I explain to you?

        • Hothfox

          To an extent, you have to change how you think about communicating and chat programs.

          The + button DOES mean add in Hangouts - it means add a contact to a hangout. The contacts list pops up so you can select which people you want to add to a hangout.

          In terms of online presence if they don't want to be disturbed, your contact will mute notifications on their end. Doesn't matter if they're idle or online. The point of this new experience is that you can always reach them, but of course, they will only get back to you when they want to. If you want to reach someone immediately, you call them.

          The thing about deleting a conversation vs closing it is similar. There's no "buddy list" in Hangouts. You have ongoing conversations. You have an open chats window and a list of people you can start a new conversation with. Even if you delete a hangout, if you open a new one with the same person, all the history will still be there, so there's almost no point in deleting for a "fresh start". New chats rise to the top, older ones hang out at the bottom.

      • http://www.estebanvm.com/ Esteban Vargas

        No dude, this is actually used by some people, like I do, depending if I'm in the mood to be disturbed or not

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          But that's what muting the notifications is for.

  • Christopher Allen

    The whole point of the verify the mobile number part currently is so that when people attempt to send a Hangouts message to your number it'll go to your Hangouts app instead. If the person hasn't verified their number yet, it'll prompt you with a dialog to ask if you want to send an SMS to the person to have them check out Hangouts.

  • Alvin C

    I've rolled back to Talk because of no voice calls (and no online presence)

    • jdsmx

      How did you do it?

      • Hothfox

        You just uninstall Hangouts on your phone. Talk is a Gapp, and a system app, so you can't fully uninstall it by normal means. Uninstalling Hangouts uninstalls the update.

  • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

    I'm confused by all the online/offline friends list discussion. The idea is that everyone is always half-online, half-offline now (as when you send a message to someone they will be notified on their end and can jump straight in). If you actually mean online as in "in the hangout" you can see this by looking at the profile pictures. If a person is online and following the conversation their profile pic will display at the bottom of the messages. If they are offline they won't display at all. If they are online but haven't read all the messages yet, they will be shown in the message log at the point that they were up to.

    • http://twitter.com/enarez Ricky

      You can tell when someone is online. Some parts of Hangouts will have a green line beneath the person's profile picture. In other places their profile picture will not be faded (like on the main page of the mobile app).

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        I know - that's what I said.

    • Paul

      A lot of my friends have notifications turned off for Google Talk on their Android devices, but use Google Talk when logged into Gmail. Some of them don't even stay logged into Gmail for very long. It's more convenient to be able to sort and differentiate easily between available/idle/busy/offline and desktop/mobile, and gives you a sense of if the person is available and willing to talk immediately. The custom status messages help as well.

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        You can still see whether they are online and using Gmail for example because their profile pic will not be grayed out. I feel like I'm on crazy pills here - am I using a different piece of software to everyone else or what?

        • Paul

          In my Hangouts app, all of my idle contacts show up as not grayed out along with available/busy contacts, so that's unhelpful. In the browser, only available contacts show up with a very subtle green bar under them.
          Either way, I can't see who's online but, for example, busy studying an exam, which means they probably wouldn't mind if I bothered them about something relevant but would be annoyed if I wanted to talk about something else.
          There's no reason why showing online status clearly and sorting by availability shouldn't at least be an option for those of us who use the service that way.

  • ins0mn1a

    there is an interesting in-depth feature on the verge about the development of google hangouts. among other things they say:
    "Finally, Google Voice, a product that could have been revolutionary but has instead languished, has been pulled into the Hangouts team with the promise of future integration. Singhal says that "this is the future for Google Voice," but offers no timeline for the integration of the the two products."

    • Andrew Morales

      Hell yeah, it's about time.

  • Casey

    Looks like someone is "online" when their picture isn't faded. Take a look at the app again. People who aren't online have their profile pictures SLIGHTLY greyed out while people who are online have profile pictures with a stronger hue.

    • Wazzifer

      If they have stronger hues that means they are on your actual phone contact list, if they're grayed out that means they're just a Google+ contact.

      • Hothfox

        I didn't know that, thanks! I thought the grayed out was offline too.

        • Wazzifer

          You can tell if someone is online when you use hangouts through G+, it shows a green line under their icon. But not on the app.

  • cameron charles

    just installed the chrome extension, seems like it doesnt suport multiple accounts massive downer

  • Boo Radley

    Is there really no way to install this on the Nexus 7?

    • Matthew Grey

      Go to hangouts in the play store through the browser and install that way. That's how I had to do it. Clicking it in play store on my Nexus 4 would just open Talk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timgee86 Tim Gueusquin

    No more voice chat :-(

    • codemonkey85

      I was missing this too. :-

    • Pierre Gardin

      Can be useful with slow bandwidth.

    • WestIndiesKING

      cant you just do the video chat and disable the video still?

      • tylerbrainerd

        yes you can

  • http://katzmatt.com/ Matt Katzenberger

    No voice calling. That sucks. And the Chrome extension doesn't let you call phone numbers anymore, but it still overwrites chat on Google Talk, meaning you can't make voice calls at all if you have the extension installed (unless I'm missing something).

    • makapav

      You are correct. Another major fail on the team. I am amazed what goes on in their head.

      Why are they taking away features when they are a minority player and trying to capture market share?

    • http://twitter.com/tigerhawkvok Philip Kahn

      There's a small phone icon at the bottom of the main hangout window in the extension. (However, it certainly lacks the UI overhaul ...)

  • Itchy_Robot

    For gods sake Google... my measly "Verizon Messages" app can group message, send/capture pictures/videos/audio clips, send map locations, call people straight from the app, and save history to the cloud to sysn all devices. All through SMS/MMS. Why can't you do the same?!!!! Grrrrrr

  • Kaushal

    I'll miss audio/video/other file sharing. Audio and Video file sharing is what will still keep me using Whatsapp.

  • lbrfabio

    I'm stunned that nobody noticed that you can finally share something to Hangout via the share button in other apps. You'll found the item "hangout".

    Anyway, the only thing I miss is the function to hide people from the list. I'd like also to see an option to view people from a specific circle.
    This and other features will arrive I guess in the next few months

    • Aditya Gulia

      But that's where there's a huge problem! You can only see the active Conversations in that share menu. I couldnt find any option to share it with a new contact, as the first message in a new conversation. :

  • Tyler

    I think that this is a step in the right direction and they are taking baby steps to make it just right. I think in order for this to be a hit and change the way we communicate, it will need to replace the idea of texting someone. Which means it will need to be backwards compatible with sms, along with moving forward with communication on smartphones. This needs to be able to communicate with non-smartphones, while not forcing this upon users. So I think they need to keep messaging app while adding the aspects of it to this app. It will use IM style messaging with texting as a backup plan. It needs to use the phone number on the phone as an ID to the account instead of a google account. Once that is in place when you send a message it checks if the users phone number is a user of the app and sends it through the service or as a text message if not. Online presence isn't important because it revolves around the idea that we always have our phone on us and that if we need to tell you something we don't wait until your online, we just say it and you'll respond when you get the chance. This is what Google Hangout needs to be in order to be successful.

    • Colin Richardson

      What if we rely on the way we communicate not changing?

      • Tyler

        Why would you want communicative technology not to evolve with the world around us?

  • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

    I'd be happy if I could just log on to the damn thing.

    I started trying to log on over 6 hours ago (as of this writing) and this is what happens: http://i.imgur.com/GKOayTg.png

    (other google apps such as Gmail and Google+ work fine).

  • Vandré Brunazo

    Hey Ron, the number confirmation thing is so you can use your number to search for people. Kinda like WhatsApp and SMS. Maybe you someone doesn't have your email, but they know your number. If you confirmed your number, they can still send you messages to you on Hangouts.

  • Michael Minton

    The permissions did ask for send /receive and read on sms messages so i guess soon enough it will be integrated. Or maybe they would use our number if we choose to share it by fwd messages to the app idk but the as i noted already. The permissions are there.

  • Aman Yajurvedi

    Where is my contact list?

  • Ted Rathkopf

    You say there's no Google Voice integration, but unfortunately (and troublingly) that's not true. If someone calls your GV number, it will ring in your Google+ hangouts window on your desktop. There appears to be no way to turn this off.

    DO NOT LEAVE YOURSELF LOGGED IN TO GOOGLE+ ANY PLACE YOU DON'T WANT SOMEONE TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER YOUR PHONE CALLS.

    • andy_o

      Are you sure it's not because you're forwarding calls to Talk on your GV settings? Most of us use it that way so you can use apps like Talkatone and Groove IP.

  • ARPIT PATEL
  • http://www.estebanvm.com/ Esteban Vargas

    tyeah yeah yeah, I'm tired of Google adding, deleting, modifying services every two months. Every day I'm more convinced that Google is the new Microsoft

  • Preveen Rodrigo

    Thats wierd. Play store says its not compatible with my Nexus 7. Probably has something to do with that confirm phone number that Ron points out in the article. Mine is a WiFi only model. How the heck can it claim to stay in sync across devices when Google's own Nexus 7 isn't supported?
    I was kinda hoping this would replace Whatsapp for me. The thing that annoyed me most was lack of cross platform, unlike Talk which I would receive on phone, tap and computer. Guess the wait goes on.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanDack Ryan Dack

    Things about this that bum me out:

    1.) No SMS

    2.) No Animated Gif support (iMessage has this for god sakes)

    3.) Lack of quick reply. This is why I had hoped early one that babel would replace the messages application, meaning that Cyanogen mod devs could still shove quick reply in there. Even something like chat heads would be nice.

    4.) No Windows Phone or Blackberry support. While they have minimal marketshare, my father still uses a blackberry, and I know at least one person who is using a Lumia 920. This cannot be a truly universal application with these sorts of platforms being left out, even if they don't hold the most marketshare.

  • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

    They said they were going to add Voice, and there's no need to integrate SMS, SMS is dying, is a complete waste of resources to spend anything on it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julianna-Hua/1189301416 Julianna Hua

    For me there is no "confirm your phone number" option...is this happening with anyone else?

  • http://twitter.com/ElooieIV Edward Lewis

    My guess is that google is going to baby steps this. The G+ messenger will go away in the next week or so.. I also would be surprised if Gmail doesnt get the new G+ Hangout bar on the right within the next month.

    The thing I think most people are missing is (because this is an android website) is that there is now an official app on iOS. They combined two IMs and made it cross platform. I also suspect the verifying phone number is to get the Imessenger clone lined up for a near term release.

    The online status going away is a huge loss though.

  • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

    I think you've missed one of the major features Hangouts has that Talk doesn't. On the Chrome app, typing /ponies will cause one of several of *those* ponies canter across your chat window, to the delight of some, and to the rage of others. /ponystream adds even more, and /pitchforks causes a mob of angry people to run across the chat window.

    Ahh, easter eggs!

  • duse

    How about the fact that it offers no search feature? Google Talk did. Fucking ridiculous. This is Google - I can't SEARCH my messages???

  • Freak4Dell

    Your conclusion said it best. This is basically just an updated Talk, and doesn't really unify anything. I'm betting Messenger will go away with the next G+ update, but that still won't solve the problem of SMS not being integrated. Oh well...maybe next I/O.

  • Marcin Koziński

    There is one crucial improvement over the Talk app - you can now copy the message text if you long press it! :)

    • dezz

      Nope. That is the ONLY improvement.

  • mauric

    As much as i'd love to use it, I cannot live without the popup notifications from whatsapp. Besides that i think the swiping is a mess.

    You can swipe from a hangout to the overview, and then it's possible to swipe back, who needs that anyways. And the second time you swipe the same way to open a new chat (by pressing a button), which feels quite clunky.

  • Fredphoesh

    Voice and sms cannot work as making calls in the world outside usa, Russia and a couple of other countries charges the caller not the receiver. Sms and talk cost money, not just data which is free on WiFi, so becomes very messy.

    • Jerecho

      As far as SMS integration goes, iMessage (and this is coming from a self-professed fandroid - I actually had to Google "iMessage" to see how it works lol) has a "Send as SMS" option, so that a message you send seamlessly kicks into SMS if data/Wi-Fi is not available for either party.

      The precedent *IS* there, but dear ol' G is acting like they'd have to pioneer the wheel all over again. Sigh.

  • woj_tek

    "but Hangouts is strictly a Google Talk replacement" - no it's not... it drops vital XMPP which helped it gain traction in the first place. From my perspective - maybe about 50% of my roster is gtalk contacts, of which only 1 person has/use G+... basically, if they drop xmpp federation then they will drop quite a lot of users that chose GTalk because it was open and federated....
    bottomline - google is getting worse than MS with closing and 'springcleaning' everyghitn... :|

  • Jerecho

    tl;dr:

    No G+ profile = no fancypants new Hangouts for your PC/Mac/non-mobile Web-connecting machine = ***NOT TRULY CROSS-PLATFORM***

    On Chrome, installing the Hangouts extension prompts you to sign in with your Google+ profile. No ifs, ands or buts.

    So why would I dump Whatsapp for a Whatsapp clone?

    Lots of Gmail users do NOT want or like Google+, myself included, in large part precisely because of Google's singularly hamfisted, heavy-handed bullying of us into adopting it (Google Play Store reviews, for one - if I've paid money for an app, I deserve the right to comment on it without being forced to join a whole new social network just to do so).

    And because this is the Internet and some random user will inevitably reply to me with a tired old rant on how you have to give something to get something, etc, here's my answer:-

    That emoji-less ancient artifact called Talk has been my second choice for chat after Whatsapp, and I'm going to cling to it for however long it lasts before Big G throws it on the chopping block, too.

    Then I'll use WhatsApp exclusively for my phone chats, and Skype for my PC and video calls.

    No skin off *my* nose.

    Booyah.

  • Marcell Lévai

    People post how pissed they feel after not having every feature they were expecting. Well, let me tell you what, this is the 1.0.0.1 version of the app. This is the initial version and as such, I think it's great. There's a lot to improve and Google knows that. I think we'll get the sms integration at some point (why would we have to confirm our phone numbers anyways?) My opinion: use it, don't complain, but wait and see.

    • http://twitter.com/Vizualize a.d.AM

      If you dont want to see people complaining then i would recommend you get off the internet immediately.

  • Marcell Lévai

    @ronamadeo:disqus you know, there is a send feedback option in the menu. I think you should (use it and) put it in your article so people would realize they have a chance to form the future of the app and not just criticize it. k thx bye

  • Shreyas Sood

    SMS Support confirmed
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DoriStorbeck/posts/XNRAQThToay
    Look at about comment 15.

    • Pierre Gardin

      #14

      "glad to hear it. And yes, SMS integration is coming soon - it is one of our most requested features!"

      • TheCraiggers

        I swear to All Ye Gods that if they make this only compatible with "real" SMS and not Google Voice I am going to flip out so fucking hard.

        • Tyler

          I've read that they are going to add that later but i haven't heard an eta tho.

  • kc2kzz

    Has anyone noticed that you can no longer talk to your AOL IM contacts on the phone? It still seems to work on the new web app though.

    • Hothfox

      My mom is an AOL contact, and it shows her "online" even though I know she's not, but it says she's not using Hangouts, and do I want to invite her. I don't know what happens when I invite her.

  • Tanmay Srivastava

    No, its wrong, we can see who is online and who is offline.
    In Hangouts if the person image is grayed then he/she is offline and if it is not grayed then he/she is online.
    This only work on the people who have Google+ profile.

  • Pierre Gardin

    "Hangouts doesn't use your phone number for anything, so why does it want to know my phone number?"

    To enable an "add contact by phone number" feature like in Whatsapp probably.

    • Tanmay Srivastava

      Probably in future they will add SMS functionality as @shreyassood:disqus spotted one comment on G+ about SMS integration.

  • Magneira

    Yea this was a big disapointment...

  • Biju Neyyan

    Hey, I don't think we can say they FORGOT presence information completely. In fact it seems very intentional. Moreover, the Presence info (to some extent) is still there as a GREEN LINE below the profile icon if the person is active.

  • Ryo Cook

    SMS? I don't want SMS integrated. SMS is outdated.
    Google Voice is really a bummer... if you live in the US. The rest of the world doesn#t care about that either, because they don't have it anyway.

  • Danny Corker

    Just seen this in account settings - suggests Hangouts should be able to send SMS to me?

    SMS for Hangouts

    Add your phone number to receive messages from Google+ Hangouts as SMS, when you are idle.

    https://www.google.com/settings/account?hl=en

  • Shawn Roth

    Is anyone having an issue getting notified that someone is attempting to chat with them? I get absolutely no notification. My wife IMed me..and I found it 20 minutes later when I went to IM her. So annoying. I might go back to imo.im.

  • Sqube

    Hangouts is a beautiful app, but it's really disappointing that it in absolutely no way fixes the messaging situation on Android.

  • Greg Sanders

    You complain before about all the different chat clients, now we're down to two(if you count SMS which is sort of a stretch). That's unifying.

    SMS integration is coming 'soon' according to Hangouts Community Manager.

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DoriStorbeck/posts/XNRAQThToay

    So... is it not unifying anything still AP?

    • Scott

      I wonder why they didn't mention that during the presentation...seems that would have made a lot of people happy.

      • Greg Sanders

        Google isn't great at presentations. That's their fault of course!

  • Courtney

    Couple complaints / little bit of confusion.- No status indicators
    - When I go to start a new hangout, my list of contacts includes people who I'm not connected to on either G+ or Google Talk. It seems like it's just grabbing every contact from my address book (including my doctor's office, contacts connected to my other Google account, and people I'm only connected to on Facebook...?)... why?
    - Doesn't seem to sync hangouts/conversations between G+ and the Hangouts app (someone messaged me last night on G+ and it only went to the G+ messaging app) or keep conversation history from the Talk app.

    I'm all for unified messaging, I just don't get what Hangouts is currently accomplishing.

  • Paul Hargess

    I was really hoping for more, especially SMS integration, Not EVERYONE has a modern smartphone!

    One HUGE step is a Awesome Working Video chat!!!!
    idk how many hours wasted with people just trying to get a video chat happening.
    hey install Skype!< oh crap Skype isnt working.. Lets try ooVoo!, nope., etc..
    sign up, install its a MESS!

    With Hangouts Video chat is as easy as Facetime on IOS and works really well.
    video is much higher quality than skype too..

    Now my hugest beef is this!
    Google! WHY IN THE EFFF would you make this such a pain in the ass to install?
    My buddy has a GS3 and i said, hey go get hangouts its out!.

    He couldnt get it from the market on his device, he had to go to a computer and install it via the web play store..

    If Google wants this on EVERY device they need to deliver it with a big bow, you should not need to dick around with different methods of installation, Talk not wanting to update and all that Jazz.

    SMS+Easy installation= Dominate the market.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      the answer to that is "it's still rolling out" at the time of your post anyway

  • warcaster

    "Hangouts doesn't use your phone number for anything, so why does it want to know my phone number?"

    Ugh...because SMS integration is coming?! Honestly, how hard was that to figure out?

  • heytricia

    Well I'm NOT happy! My !#$$#@ phone button is gone. No more one-click calling via Google!

  • dextersgenius
  • Jeff Weatherup

    Ok, it seems really solid; I like it so far. However, there doesn't seem to be a way to log out of the app, or make it stop running in the background! This worries me. Has anyone else found a way to do this? Am I the only one concerned about it?

    • Björn Lundén

      Similarly to Google Talk, it always stays connected. Actually, that's the same connection they use to keep you connected to Google for all other services (including GCM) if I recall correctly.

      Yes, you are the only one worried about that. :) It doesn't drain battery noticably.

    • selonmoi

      Sign out is hidden away under Settings, but it seems to work fine.

  • WantonWonton

    There's a green line that indicates whether that person is online or not. However, there's no way to be invisible in the new hangouts.

  • TheCraiggers

    The other thing that I feel is a definite step back is the use of screen real estate during chats. The card interface is not as nice for chats as other methods. I find myself scrolling around much more in Hangouts than I did in Talk.

  • Muhammad Ali

    it does tell you if the person is online , if you go to start a conversation option, those people who are online will have a sharp image, those who are not will have a dull image, and in the conversation, if the person has the conversation window open he/she will have a sharp little image of himself/herself on the bottom(that picture also tells you how much the person has read

  • dezz

    How come nobody misses the ability to just swipe left/right between converstions??? NOw you have to go back to conversation menu chose conversation.. WTF?!?

    And where is file sharing (apart of pics/vids)???

    HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    ....on the other hand..... the Chrome extension for the desktop is very nice and finally means I can get rid of the Google Talk application that hasn't been updated for years and is very very buggy!

  • GTeye

    This thing is awful.

  • Sam

    Hangouts doesn't show you the email address of the person you're corresponding with like Google Talk used to. I have a couple of contacts for the same person and I'm not sure which email address I'm sending the message to... Also how did they not include a presence indicator? It's such a basic feature.

  • GTeye

    This thing just plain sucks.

  • MRoy

    Is there a way to go back to gtalk?

  • rites chetan

    there is no way to display all the online contacts at one place. and so i rate this hangout as bullshit. if u dont know who's online/busy/idle, ther is just no point in starting a hangout. i'm not impressed with any other feature. and it has replaced google talk from my fone. Google, u've got this wrong.

  • teolinux

    Why is the NFC permissions needed??? new feature or just "let's throw that in the bunch?"

  • Irinel Loghin

    If you're gonna look at the permissions, you'll notice that the app will require access to the SMS function.... So this makes me think that soon they will bod everything... .

  • Kendevis

    i HATE google. why the hell doesn't release it on all devices simultaneously??? AND WHY ON APPLE BEFORE THAN ON ANDROID ITSELF?????????

  • 96

    Its not replacing my talk pls help

  • GTeye

    No online status = fail.

  • Aditya Dodda

    I think the ones online are highlighted. Others (offline or away) are grayish in color.

  • dlj78

    hangouts software size: 20,97MB
    with some little data you will get to 23MB in no time..
    "thanks google for the bigger application in my phone."

    we are forced to change phone,,,,, or maybe unistall the app.

  • Gian

    this is such a disappointment. JUST MAKE AN APP THAT WORKS, ITS NOT THAT HARD GOOGLE.
    this is why iphones more appealing to everyone else, you go in your phone, open imessage and boom. thats it.
    but NO, with this, your friends have to have a google account a google plus, and THEN they can use the app.
    stop trying to shove google+ down people's throats.
    you can't even see if your phone contacts have it, what kind of an app is that? my cousin joined (i pretty much made him) and when he did we couldnt even find each other...

  • blak

    All hangouts has status indicator. If the picture icon is full color then the contact is online. If the picture icon is slightly faded then the contact is offline.

    • Fatriff

      if there's no green line under their image then they are offline.

  • ZEE

    I tested... You can judge who is online and who is not from their dp... if its shaded out, the person isn't online... if its showing in full colors the person is online... This feature however only works in complete contact list and not in the current chats window :(
    Further the online friends are not sorted at the top, so again its lame!!

    • Fatriff

      I can judge by the green lines which appears under anybody who is online on the pictures on the contact list as well as the chat window which gets a green line running across the top.. It's really not difficult.

  • guyiom

    the lack of presence status is a very big fail. never thought google would rush to release that shit. and we still have messenger so for me the number of msg app is still the same : 3 ; hangout, sms and messagenger. (dont have voice capabilities here outside usa :( )

  • bhaismachine

    They
    do have partial online presence indicators. They do not show idle or on
    mobile device anymore but a green bar under a contacts profile photo if
    they are online and available. People who are idle are shown with no
    indicators whatsoever.

  • markus

    I have also uninstalled this disgusting hangout to get back the good old talk app. So i am able to see who is online....

  • http://twitter.com/spazonymous spazonymous

    Anyone know how I get back my Gtalk contact list? I used Gtalk just for work, and had colleagues on there only, unrelated to my Gmail contacts. Now, with hangouts, I have lost that list of people and instead all my Gmail contacts are listed, and many of my previous Gtalk contacts are lost. This is really inconvenient. I used Gtalk only for work, so I don't want all my contacts listed. I hate how Google "upgrades" its products and bullies users into using things a certain way. I just want choice. They can have their Google+ stuff, hangout stuff, but just give me a choice of using the service how I like - meaning keeping my chat contacts limited to the list I had before in Gtalk.

  • haomuch

    Yes it won't make any process unless they managed supporting direct messages with iMessage. The apple guy won't use another message app other than iMessage and Whatsapp (or any other existing third party app)

  • Milind

    The lack of the available status is the single biggest reason why I'm not updating and everyone I know who has updated is regretting it! It replaces Talk and they have completely taken away the most important feature of chatting!! In Talk, all the people who are online are in green and most importantly, on the top! It's idiotic to try to figure out from a barely noticeable disabled icon and worse having to scroll through your contacts, who is available and who is not. Thank God I did not update. But thankfully, I have a titanium backup of Talk.

  • Sarath Chandra Gullapalli

    Sorry Ron, Looks like you're wrong on one thing. In fact, there is a way to tell if someone's online. The profile picture gets a green coloured 'underline' effect when the contact is online.

    However, I'm not sure if this was added recently after reading the criticism about the product.

  • Katrina M

    Why in the world would you want someone to know when you're typing? Or have read a message? Why would you want to know if they are or have? To me, this makes a fun app stressful. But then, I forget they don't build apps for the introverts. (So much love, you guys, but seriously, stressing me out!)

  • Startops

    I hope they can fix the major problems because it has the ability to be a really great app its just letting itself down with little things like not being able to tell who is online on the Ipod/phone/pad app and statuses and it begins to get quite confusing with Google talk as well since they are two different parts of Google! Its a great app but things like these need fixing :)

  • Phillip Landmeier

    Lack of online status indication will sure cut down on traffic. I'm not going to message someone if they're not online.

  • Curious

    Is there a way to trace on my phone bill statement who a text or chatt with someone if I use this app?

    • http://j.mp/scottbeamer Scott Beamer

      ​unsubscribe​

  • s2lim

    Hangouts is donkey.

  • sdsd99

    Hangsouts is not pretty. At all. It's harder to read, no statuses, stupid interface changes, and has really annoying bugs. It syncs slower than original Talk and sometimes messages are randomly delayed for hours, information density reduced to that for a retard. It does not federate with other XMPP servers so it is a closed down server - huge slap in the face to its users and ironic given how they billed Talk when it first was released. You can't simply do a voice only chat (not social enough for Google, needs to be video... gotta have the forced staring contest that is video chat). List goes on but I'm not stopping here. AOL replaced 5.9.x with AIM Triton - And now Google after years of great products is now downhill and have came out with their Triton equivalent.