Bring Google Hangouts Back! At least fix Google Chat!

Bring Google Hangouts Back! At least fix Google Chat!

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Trevor Sullivan started this petition to Google, Inc

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

Google has been slowly killing Hangouts, because they want a "more unified experience." Oh please. Google Chat is the app they've developed to "replace" Hangouts. Even with how much they've slowed Hangouts down recently to encourage users to transition, it's obvious Google Chat is way slower. Messages and pictures take forever to send. Most of us don't have time to take out of our busy day to double-check that something sent. Message notifications don't even work! The scheduling mix-ups and the ill-timed phrases great and small will bother us for the rest of our soon-ending summer romance with Google Chat.

Here's a list of issues/shortcomings with Chat that Hangouts reliably fulfilled before Google started its slow asphyxiation:

1. Your old messages are gone. I have yet to discover the exact cutoff, but I know that at most a year of your old Hangouts messages have been evicted to Chat. Once Google completes the kill, how will you access your nostalgic messages with your then-high-school-sweetheart, now fiance? Google's impersonal template response to a review addressing this sends you to an unrelated page about history (a setting that does not delete messages after 24 hours if turned on by default). Google loves to reference obscure URLs in their review responses, and since you can't click URLs in Play Store reviews they don't expect many people to take the time to enter it manually. I apologize in advance, because I will share this on the Play Store in a review.

2. The chatbox is impersonal and businesslike. Gone is the your side/my side messaging. Gone are the fun, customizable message sounds. Gone is the "Last active" feature. Gone are the little profile pictures that pop up when your friends and family are viewing the chat. One reviewer mentioned that stickers are gone and do not appear correctly when looking through old messages sent in Hangouts. The list of Hangouts Easter eggs and little-known features is long. As far as I'm aware, there is no room for these informalities in the cold metal workings of Chat.

3. Video and phonecalls (not including Google Voice) have slowly been removed from Hangouts and will not be added to Chat. Who wants to set up a massive, buisness-built Google Meet for a 5 minute chat with grandma? Does grandma even know how to join a Google Meet? It's yet another sticky note on the side of her computer. Group videocalls were the first victims. Their death was ill-timed. What big tech company kills your only non-business videocall option during COVID-19, when everyone's using it? As far as phonecalls, a friend and I had to scramble to find a solution on her older iPod when she suddenly discovered she was unable to phonecall right before vacation! This isn't even the Google Voice removal, it was simply the call to any US or Canada number for free feature that was our communication staple. After a lot of work we discovered a less-than-ideal third party option which we still use to this day. Google, we as your customer base will leave you for a better solution if you don't step it up.

4. Google Voice is now separate. Google's whole goal in the termination of Hangouts was to "unify" their main products. With over 10 MILLION downloads on Android alone and 200,000+ on iOS this July, a lot of us felt left behind when we were disregarded and ignored in this great divorce of services. There is a plethora of critical reviews on the Play Store crying out the inconvenience of the division. They need SMS/MMS/phonecall integration. Will you listen? 

5. Nobody has time to go through and select each photo from your vacation to send to your friend. With Hangouts you could select multiple photos, click send, and rest easy knowing your photos will be delivered. There was even a fun little hotbar you could pull up with all your recent photos, making it incredibly simple to send screenshots and pics. With Google Chat, you have to dive deep into the bowels of your phone's file system and poke around, hoping you find the right folder.

There are more issues I did not address. Google, the way we see it, you have two choices. The first is to bring Hangouts back in all its glory. We will with great joy return to our long-loved companion. This is preferred. Your second, and less desirable option, is to improve Google Chat significantly. Nobody wants the machine you made for business forced on our personal lives and conversations. You can do it, Google!

Recover your senses or lose us.

We need a good messaging app.

You have the power to deliver.

We want you.



I'm truly sorry for the Google employees who have to reply to the reviews on the appstores. I do not envy your position. Thank you for your service.

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