Don’t get me wrong. I like what Google Hangouts stands for. It even looks cool and I use it all day long!
What I can’t understand is why Google left out aspects of Gchat that we all know and loved – aspects that kept it out of the way, rather than being something I need to constantly manage. I use Hangouts for work, with friends and to keep in touch with acquaintances. I’ve had to rely on using Google Talk (which doesn’t allow Group chats) or reverting back to Gchat.
Here are my reasons why the Google Hangouts apps suck:
- I can’t be invisible: Why the hell can’t I make myself invisible? Sometimes I want to be in a video Hangout and I don’t want to be bothered by anyone via chat.
- I can’t have a status message: I liked status messages. It was a chance to be funny, share something I feel passionate about that day or make fun of my friends. I also very much enjoyed seeing my friend’s status messages. Now all I see is the last message sent to or from each chat.
- The Hangouts list shows me the last message/notification from a chat: What do I need this for? If I’m curious about the last thing said in a conversation, I’ll click on it. What good does it do to see that I said “me too” to someone 4 hours ago? Why do I need to see a message that says I was in a Hangout with this person 3 days ago? See reason 2.
- The Hangouts list shows me most recent conversations, even if those people are not online or it was (literally) months ago: WHY? Let me see who is online right now, like Gchat used to. My video Hangouts from last night while I was playing video games are irrelevant now that I’m at work.
- The last few chats I was in remain bold, even though I’ve read the messages already: This applies across platforms. I have to click in the text box so Google recognizes I’ve read it and then un-bolds it. What about conversations from 3 months ago from people I barely talk to? A video hangout or conversation that I’ve un-bolded on desktop app? Yea, all of them are still bold somewhere else. Bold means “unread” and catches my attention.
- The indicator for someone being “online” is extremely hard to see: That little green bar under their profile photo or atop the chat window, coupled with the fact that a conversation with someone who is not online is bold, makes half of what Google is showing me in my friends list completely useless. When someone is idle, the bar seems to disappear entirely, so I don’t know whether they are still technically online, just not there at the moment? Give me green/yellow/red dots back.
- I can’t turn off notifications, unless I do it individually: What? Why? Maybe I’m missing something. I don’t need little pop-ups showing up for everyone to see. Wait, when I turn off notifications the chat window doesn’t even pop up? Ugh. I just wanted to turn off the little pop up flag in the bottom right. The chat window should still appear and stay behind my other windows.
Ultimately, why is there so much confusion around who is online, when I’m online, whether I’ve viewed a message or which app I’m using where. Dammit Google!