Leaving Google Hangouts for another messaging platform was a once-unimaginable idea. My entire family (and most friends) had all bought into Google’s most important messaging app over the years because it was simple to use through a Google account and worked on all platforms. Of course, we know the story there and that Hangouts is now all-but-dead. For many of us, that has meant deciding whether or not to use Google’s replacement or finding something else.
The replacement for Hangouts is Google Chat (not to be confused with RCS “Chat” within Google Messages), a capable messaging app that brought over our conversations from Hangouts, has a modern look and features, and should continue to be a big part of Google’s messaging path going forward. I’d love to sit here and tell you that it is a great app and that you should be using it, but I left the system long ago and never looked back.
In March of 2021, when Google still wouldn’t let everyone into Chat and left long-time Hangouts users on an aging, slowly-dying, and feature-stripped messaging platform, I decided it was time to move on. I picked Telegram because it was simple to sign-up for, worked on multiple devices at a time, and was easy to access on any platform. It’s a ridiculously good messaging app.
I had a quick conversation with the family about moving over to it and they (probably foolishly too often) listened to me because I’m a tech bro. They all seemed to figure it out without much work and are now into sharing (too many) stickers and GIFs, posting pictures to group chats, and finding usefulness in other features, like links that actually show information.
But this isn’t about Telegram. It’s about Google Chat. You see, I certainly gave Chat a chance on a couple of occasions. I was allowed in to use it early on, I think because I brute-forced my way. I just never like the way it presented messages, as they were often difficult to sort if in a lengthy conversation with multiple people. It has (obviously) been built for big Google Meet users and a business-focused setting where you might use it keep up with work tasks and calendar invites. It also didn’t have a bunch of fun stuff to play with and isn’t updated with new goodies nearly as often as Telegram. Google Chat comes off as a work tool (because it is) – for personal messaging, using a work tool is not a thing I ever want to do.
Today, as I see Google push out yet another minor feature to Google Chat, I wonder how many are using it. I’m surprised we haven’t asked this before, so it’s probably time we do that. Are you using Google Chat? Why did you stick around and whaat do you like about it? If not, what’d you switch to from Hangouts?