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Hands-on: Hangouts Chat can not be replaced with “classic Hangouts” yet

With all the latest Hangouts Classic (Hangouts Classic) turned off, for Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, we took a time…

With all the latest Hangouts Classic (Hangouts Classic) turned off, for Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, we took a time as a group to give Hangouts Chat a handy test. Of course, it did not work well.

Hands-on: Hangouts Chat


Our network of websites, 9to5Google, 9to5Mac, Electrek, etc, all commonly use Slack to communicate. Given that we were already quite used to the idea of ​​group chats and threaded conversations, Hangouts Chat saw that it could be a simple change for us.

For the practical test, we installed all the Android app, or uploaded the web app, started a new room, and used Hangouts Chat as much as possible instead of Slack. This test lasted for as long as we could carry &#821

1; about one and a half hours.

Strong integration with Google Contacts

When you first install the app or open the web client if you have not been invited to a room, you are greeted with the ability to start a new call or room. Simple yet.

Things get complicated when you try to connect to someone, either through instant messaging or adding them to a room. If that person is not in your Google contacts, they can not even exist in Hangouts chat.

When you joined a room, even with the entire 9to5Google crew added to my Google Contacts, no one has a display name. Each person could only see his own name; Everyone else was shown as their full email address. This stood true between rooms and instant messages.

Entering someone in a message requires their entire email address and looks very difficult, with two @ symbols. Even your own name, tagged in someone else’s message, appears as your full email address.

Here are the same couple of messages from two perspectives.

I dug into every possible setup menu I could find and found no trace of renaming contacts or using names from Google Contacts. This is far from consumer-ready.

More from a discussion forum than a chat room

For an app with “Chat” in the name that allows you to create group calls called “Rooms” Hangouts Chat does not offer what you would expect from a chat room experience. Instead of a linear timeline with optional threads (such as Slack Offers), each new message is a separate conversation thread.

This is not necessarily good or bad, but it may surely take some hints. It may be useful for keeping the context fresh, especially as the leading message on each thread is always displayed. However, the model breaks down with Hangouts Chat’s current lack of Polish.

If new messages appear in an older thread or a new thread are added to the room, the web client offers you an update button to view the new messages. This is simply clunky. And the Android app, by its means, does not change the sorting of the wire list until you leave the space view and return.

Direct messages are solid and simple

One-to-one conversation and group announcements work exactly how you expect them to. They both appear as a typical chat conversation, without threads or other questions that stand between you and your chat. Also, unlike rooms, direct and group messages are a prominent alternative to self-destructive after 24 hours.

From Android, you must enter their email address to find them in your contacts. On the web, this can be simplified to click on a person’s profile picture, if you are in a room with them.

In addition to the poor platform inconsistencies, instant messaging was one of the better aspects of my hands-on time with Hangouts Chat.

Integration with Google and beyond

With a click or hit either a thread response or instant message, you can create a new Hangouts Meet video meeting link and attach it to your message. Then with one click, everyone can join Hangouts Meet.

This was one of the more strangely impressive aspects of Chat. If your team often connects via video, this can be an incredible time saver. Perhaps when this hits the consumers, it will also be with Duo integration.

Smart Response Support was also rolled into Hangouts Chat, shortly after we finished our test. I went back and checked the answers offered earlier talks and found that, like Gmail, it consistently offers sensible answers.

In addition to Google’s own services, there is also a full range of chat robots from Giphy, Github, LucidChart, Trello and dozens more. These integrations were not immediately noted in our tests, as you can see in some of our conversations, but they seemed to work well.

Closing Thoughts

As it stands, Hangouts Chat competes with Slack. And in that room, from what we found in our nearest time, I do not think any company should switch from Slack to Hangouts Chat than. If your organization has never used an app like Slack before, and is already a G Suite customer, Hangouts Chat may be an attempt, as you already pay for it.

With a move to consumer space, but Hangouts Chat would compete with similar Discord. Suffice it to say that Hangouts Chat has little or no chance of winning that match without any significant additions.

If Google’s development focus is on refining live and group messaging experience, get more polished and fun, Hangouts Chat can potentially be a great product for consumers. Unfortunately, this focus is likely to come to the cost of new features for the corporate market, to sacrifice Google’s paying customers and their need to attract a consumer market for which Hangouts Chat was never intended.

Honestly, Hangouts Chat has no killer features to switch to the platform, even though it was fine. The clearest recent example of this is Google’s Allo, which had plenty of “fun” features and a relatively consistent experience for consumers, but gave no reason for anyone ever to make the switch. This leads the platform to finally connect to Google Cemetery.

Where Hangouts Chat really is a chance in the future, it will continue in its competition with Slack. If Google could easily polish the hard edges of the app and deliver a consistent web-to-mobile experience, Hangouts Chat could be a major winner in the corporate world thanks to its deep integration and inclusion in the G Suite.

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