Back in May 2013, Google unveiled Hangouts, a complete revamp and rebranding of what was once known as Google Talk.
Not to be confused with Google+ Hangouts, Google Hangouts are similar to other group messaging services, and unlike Skype, you can have group video chats with up to 10 people for free.
Recently, I started managing the social media for News Headquarters, a rapidly growing digital media company, and its network of 14 sites.
Similar to here at Social News Daily, all our official communication was through Skype. While Skype is a good communication tool, it has some downsides.
For example, the desktop and mobile apps can be quite sluggish, and messages sent to you while you’re offline often show up hours, if not days after logging back in.
One day though, everything changed: It was announced that all official communication was moving to Hangouts. To say I was excited was an understatement. In fact, I probably looked something like this:
Today, Android Central published a story on why Hangouts is the best group messaging app available today.
Features such as knowing what device a person is typing from, and seeing who has read your message stood out the most, which I agree are great.
However, over the past several weeks of working with a team of over 50 people (and growing) on Google Hangouts, there are a couple major issues that still need ironed out:
You Can’t Remove People From A Hangout
It wasn’t until about a week into having our entire team transitioned over that we found this out. Granted, it was totally my fault for not knowing this. Then again, just about anyone would assume such a basic, crucial feature would be there from the very beginning.
To work around this, our team has had to ask someone to remove themselves. So far, this has went over just fine, but it’s still an area of concern.
Anyone Can Turn Off History For Everyone
One awesome feature of Hangouts is that they are searchable within Gmail, long as “Hangout history” is turned on. Unfortunately, whenever anyone in the Hangout turns history off, it turns it off for everyone.
This is an annoyance we’ve had to keep our eye on since we like to keep a record of chats, and not have to repeat conversations to those who may have missed something.
Overall, Hangouts is a great group messaging app. I’m glad I no longer have to deal with Skype, and in my opinion, Hangouts provide a significantly better experience.
However, Google needs to roll out a serious update before Hangouts can get another shot at the title.