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At some point in your childhood, one of your parents may have warned you against making faces - "knock it off," they said, "or your face will freeze like that." That sound advice might not actually be true, but it seems to have a pertinent application for the latest versions of the Hangouts app on Android. Reddit user Recon2012 found an app-killing bug within Hangouts relating to the new emoji functionality in the Android keyboard.


His demonstrable bug works like this: get into a Hangout with one or more parties, then spam the hell out of the emoji mini-icons - he said it took 10 pages of them, hundreds and hundreds of individual images, to see the result. After enough emoji have been posted, Hangouts will crash. But it's not as simple as restarting the app: it will crash, then permanently hang upon relaunching. This behavior applies not only to the person who tried to send the multiplied emoji in the first place, but every Hangouts user who was in the session at the time, potentially making the Hangouts Android app broken for dozens of users at once on a semi-permanent basis.

This may not be a particularly common use-case scenario - for people above the age of seven, anyway - but it's a big deal, if only because Hangouts is the only SMS app included on the Nexus 5. The temporary solution discovered by Recon is to log into Hangouts on a desktop computer and manually leave the Hangout session, after which the Android app should relaunch without issue.

Fortunately, it looks Google is already aware of the problem and working on a fix. Google employee Dan Morrill (a regular on Reddit's Android section) replied to say that the project manager for Hangouts has been alerted. Quote the Googler: "Top Men will look into it." Thank you, Mr. Morrill, for giving us an excuse to use this clip one more time.

Source: Reddit /r/Android

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • evolutionx1

    "We have top men working on it"
    "Top......... Men"

    • Miah

      Oh, you watched the video too, huh?

  • Ror

    Reminds me of the arabic text bug on iOS and parts of OSX. Oh exploitable.

  • Chris

    If you send a SMS to more then 1 contact, GOOGLE HANGOUTS transfer the SMS into a MMS. This leads to extra fees!

    • MrJamesBrown

      This really needs to be an option, out of interest are MMS' included in SMS bundles in the US?

    • Sasquatch123


    • Mayoo

      As far as I remember, my phones always did that ... ever.

      • Cheeseball

        No. What should happen is that it will just send the SMS message to each contact separately. It shouldn't use the MMS standard unless you're sending other types of data.

        • Mario Limonciello

          Converting it to MMS makes it a group conversation so everyone see's everyone's responses. This is what fruit devices do by default too.

          • Cheeseball

            That's correct. I believe the OP is talking about sending separate SMS messages to multiple individuals instead of group conversations that the MMS standard supports.

        • Mayoo

          I ain't denying that. If there is no images or videos in the said SMS, why should it be MMS? Makes no sense at all. But it also depends for each people. Let's say you send a SMS to 10 people. Do you want to send 10 SMS or one MMS?

          In my case I really don't mind. SMS and MMS are unlimited.

          • Roh_Mish

            I would prefer sms as for me, we pay for mms.

        • Mick Collingwood

          They should be sent as individual Sms.most calling plans in UK include thousands if not unlimited Sms, your lucky to get any mms included. One thing I never understood though. If you have unlimited data why does it cost so much to send a mms?

        • pfmiller

          What really should happen is that it should be an option, like in the Messaging app. There is no one right setting since for people who get charged extra MMS might not be desirable, but for everyone else the MMS group messages work much better.

        • deltatux

          That's because Hangouts treats multiple contacts on the same thread as a group instead of how email works where separate contact means send a copy to everyone separately.

          • pfmiller

            Not really, it seems like hangouts and mms group messages work like email, everyone sees who is included and so they can reply to all.

    • Janice

      Thanks for notify me this. I wouldn't notice it if I didn't see your comment.

    • ddpacino

      On what carrier does this happen? Almost all carriers offer unlimited messaging, which includes MMS. Who is still sending pay-per-message? Serious question...

      • Chris

        Hi, we have 3 carriers here in AUSTRIA who offer unlimited talk and unlimited SMS and 1 GB of Data. But MMS costs extra. Maybe this is different to other countries.

        • Christopher Robert

          don't send SMS messages just send a hangouts message. The app is available on Android and iPhone so just have everyone download it and you can all save a bunch of money. Simple as that.

        • ddpacino

          Ahh, that sucks. I believe the big 4 US carriers include MMS in the unlimited messaging packages. I haven't had to pay extra on my prepaid unlimited T-Mobile plan. Glad to know it's not the same around the world. Google should understand that... they do have employees all around the world.

    • Drome

      if you do not live in the US.

      • Roh_Mish


        • Drome

          thanks for the geography lesson. I was just stating that this is not a concern in the USA due to unlimited SMS/MMS on essentially every mobile plan available.

          • Roh_Mish

            You learn new thing everyday.

    • motoridersd

      Unfortunately, yes, Hangouts defaults to converting to a group MMS when more than one SMS contact is added. There is of course no option to change the behavior (shame on you Google!), so you will have to use another SMS app to get around this when messaging more than one person.

      I like that Android finally supports group MMS properly, it's useful when trying to chat with users on multiple platforms without having to install another app (and they don't all use Hangouts).

    • deltatux

      That's because the SMS protocol doesn't allow more than one contact at a time, that's just the limitation of SMS. That's why Google by default sends it as an MMS. If you still want group chat, without the added fees (if your carrier charges for MMS), then just send it as a Hangouts group message.

      I know unlimited SMS/MMS is not universal (even though it is in Canada and for many carriers in the US), but data is much cheaper in those countries and Hangouts itself will likely be the solution instead of using the SMS/MMS mechanism.

  • Jadephyre

    I don't even have the new Hangouts yet, bloody staggered rollouts.
    Oh well, no use in installing the new app anyway, i'll wait until the factory images for the N4 are released.

    • Dennis Ulijn

      look for the file on Android Police or any other android website and download it on your phone... Works great on N4

      • Jadephyre

        I know it's there, I just don't see the necessity of updating it right now. Although, if Google plans to keep Nexus 4 users on 4.3 for an indeterminate amount of weeks, then I just might think about it.
        Kind of done with Android at the moment, Google really went low with the 4.4 release, which hasn't even happened yet.

        • Tim242

          You must have ADHD. You seem to be patient about waiting to install the new Hangouts, but you are "done with Android" because you didn'tget 4.4 immediately.

  • Calkulin

    Actually I had this bug in v2.0.012(v2.0.122 seems to have fixed it for me), where if you sent a couple of emoji's, the app would crash constantly but if you delete the babel databases in com.google.android.talk, you could open it without crashing again and still see the messages

  • Mayoo

    If you send a 10 pages emoji hangout, you deserve to have it crash before your eyes for the rest of eternity.

    My two cents.

    • Matthew Fry

      But is it right to have the receiver of those 10 pages of emoji also have it crash? Add injury to insult?

      • Mayoo

        For knowing someone who does that kind of sh*t, yes!

  • Solburn

    Worst Emoji's EVER.

  • Paul Taylor

    Actually, your face only freezes if the wind changes direction while you're doing it.

  • Bojan Bunić

    I believe they like to see this "Top Men" clip, so they do and say these sort of things. :D

  • Skifreek

    I guess fixing the video chat freeze issue every time you use it isn't high on the priority fix list?

    • Christopher Robert

      Video chat freeze issue has been fixed. Are you still having issues? I figured out how to fix it today. Its actually a problem with a sound driver not a problem with Hangouts on most devices.

  • Asgard

    Am I the only one who doesn't like emoji? I even set it up on whatsapp to show just the characters instead of the actual emoji.

    • Mick Collingwood

      Are you not getting confused between emoji 😃 and emoticons :-)

      • Asgard

        You are right, my bad. But the point still remains, I hate both.

  • Bill Blandford

    I love sms/mms in hangouts on my JB 4.3, but Kit Kat 4.4 not having separate messaging app doesn't appeal to me. In hangouts 2.0 you can't search sms store like you can in Messaging app.

    • Mick Collingwood

      You can just install an Sms app if using a nexus 5. Other KitKat builds have default messaging app.

    • pfmiller

      Yeah, it's lame that hangouts still doesn't have a search feature. Talk and Messaging both had it, now both those programs are gone leaving N5 users with nothing. Ridiculous, you'd think Google of all companies wouldn't have a problem with searching.

  • Archit K

    AP! This isn't a Hangouts only bug! I tried to send a 10 page message on WhatsApp and the same thing is happening. I sent it to my friends who ran JB and the same thing is happening. I'm guessing it's more of an Android base problem rather than Hangouts or Kitkat.

  • Jpatl

    Does anyone know how to save pictures that get sent to you ??

    • Artevius Hardin

      The pictures from hangouts are saved to a private album on your G+ page. It creates a different album for each hangout. They include the images you sent and received.

      • Tim242

        Menu > save.

    • Tim242

      Menu > save

  • Darklord

    2.0.125(909441-30) just got pushed to my device. so maybe this will solve these issues??

    but yeah, who would spam 10 pages of emojicons....

  • vip-nord

    It's not a bug it's a feature :D

  • David

    That's a nasty one. I wonder if it's because emoji needs 2 UTF-16 chars to display. I'm using Magic Keyboard 2 for emoji at the moment which seems to handle it well, but I've noticed that Samsung mail has a bit of difficulty with them sometimes (you have to move the cursor sometimes when typing emoji)