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Thread: Google Chat for consumers is up!

  1. #1
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    Google Chat for consumers is up!

    (Wondering if this will continue to be okay to post about in this sub-forum, but things are in transition so it'd seem the GV section is a good place for many eyes to see it)

    Today I was reading an article on 9 to 5 Google from earlier in March about Chat, and in it was mentioned the website (similar to all other Google websites) chat.google.com.

    I went to it (here on my work computer - a MacBook), and was able to log in!

    It showed two conversations - one with a relative (sister) who is the only person I use Hangouts with (to IM chat), and the other another Google account of mine I use for testing. I sent sister a message.

    There are several other conversations (different Google account holders I used Hangouts with, long ago) that haven't appeared, and I suspect it's because they were seldom active on Hangouts.

    Well, I thought, if this is working, how about the Android app? Went to the Play Store and there it was.

    I had not been looking too hard in getting Chat working for myself, but at work here it's Google centered, and we use Google Workspace, with Hangouts available in our Gmail web apps (you know - in the left panel). I've checked for Chat to use on my company iPhone 6S (yeah, gettin' old now, but it's fine), and it is available on the App Store. Installed that a while ago, but it can't be used (here at least) as our Systems Admin hasn't flipped the switch yet. Not a feature in our package, so I've been told.

    But, happy to now have it on my own device(s) and that it works and is very simple. Not much different in terms of doing IM from Hangouts. There are other features which I haven't explored. That may take a while - ha-ha.

    I'll likely keep Hangouts where it is on my devices for a while and see how Google progresses with any announcements of its eminent demise.

    I'll need to talk sister into changing over as well; no hurry, of course.

    I like it. For what I use it for, no complaints. I did always like Hangouts' early Material Design look and layout, with the color at the top, etc. I don't see any place in Chat to select a notification tone (yet). Maybe I can keep the Hangouts one, which I like.

    By the way, the installed size of Chat on my device is just over 65 MB. Hangouts is just under 65 MB.

  2. #2
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    I'm still confused!

    Is Hangouts going away completely, to be replaced by Chat?

    How does Duo fit into the mix?

  3. #3
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    As I understand it, yes. Hangouts is going away, completely.

    Duo is something introduced back in 2016 (I believe) that is a one-to-one video calling app. It came out at the same time as the thing called Allo, which was another Instant Messaging app. At the time everyone was scratching their heads because Hangouts was already out and doing pretty well, and came preinstalled on a lot of devices. Here was Google, introducing two apps to take the place of one that was established (Hangouts being able to do both IM and video; then of course eventually interfacing with GV to do VoIP calls, preceding the GV app in that capability).

    Allo bit the dust at least a year ago, nowhere to be found.

    Strangely, on my LG Fiesta 2 from 2017, Duo is pre-installed, whereas Allo is not. I'm not into video calls anyway, so I've never tried Duo; and never tried Allo either. I had Hangouts; no need.

    Also strangely, they're keeping Duo around. Some people like it, but it's a one function app as I understand it.

    I haven't poked around too much with Chat yet. There's a video camera icon; no idea what it does or how to use it.

    Update: I pressed the video camera icon and it opens a pop-up that I think is simply a prompt to get you to open Google Meet (another separate app/service - we have it here with our school Google services) in order to do a video conference.

    Speaking from experience using Google Meet, it's an all right application used via a computer and the Chrome browser (I prefer it to Zoom). On a phone, no idea. Another app to install. Not gonna do it.

  4. #4
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    Wow! No wonder I'm confused!

    Google is definitely messed up. Hangouts seems like it did it all, and like you said, it was already preinstalled on a lot of phones a few years ago. What a mess!

    Duo came preinstalled on that Chromebook I just got. I uninstalled it.

  5. #5
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    one difference is Duo ties to a phone number on a device and syncs to a phones contact list and chat uses an email address as the user identifier.

    i do believe its all a bit confusing though, especially with google pushing RCS and Messages app as well

  6. #6
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    Here's an interesting tidbit about RCS from yesterday's news: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.eng...051100280.html
    I wonder where this leaves us regarding the future development of the standard.

  7. #7
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    Wow! That makes no sense! I wonder what the reasoning behind that was?

  8. #8
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    I suspect factions within each of the three companies preferred the go-it-alone approach, maybe thinking that something their marketing people would come up with regarding any change in messaging could be used to their individual advantage. Good old 'Murica!

    Update: Here's another article about it with a little more perspective and bite to it: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021...ssaging-plans/

    Update 2: More to read: https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/13/2...messages-texts
    Last edited by whacker; 04-15-2021 at 12:09 PM.

  9. #9
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    to me one of the most confusing things is that google is such a major proponent of RCS but does not support RCS for google voice

  10. #10
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    That's a little puzzling in one regard. If someone's using the GV app to send a message to a phone number, it hits that person's SMS app, or if they also have the GV app and that's the number you sent to, it goes to that (or maybe still getting forwarded to the phone's SMS app - for a while yet). Combining the GV "comm circuit" with the Android Messages RCS "comm circuit" (if available) may just be a bridge too far at present. It'll be interesting to see if there's an attempt made to move them closer together. I'd like to be able to use the Messages app and send a message but have it ID me as my GV-self and not the native cell number to the recipient. But then the GV app would still be there for calling and voicemail of your GV-identity. Gets kind of funny if the user of all this stuff doesn't have it clear what and how they're attempting to do something.

    One thing I find funny with online comments I read about Chat is from people who don't get the idea of a traditional Instant Messaging platform. Americans are largely (but not exclusively) content to use native SMS messaging. It's universal and omnipresent (due to being on the device already). But you still have people gravitating to any number of IM platforms like Facebook Messenger (or whatever) for the convenience and accommodation of whoever they're intending to communicate with.

    I'm a good candidate for Google Chat, since I can't stay with Hangouts (and it'd be much harder to migrate my sister to something like Facebook Messenger - lol).

    In Europe people come out of the gate (it would seem) with the assumption they'll be using WhatsApp (an IM client). You can't send a message to someone unless that person has it installed on their end. But it would seem over there it's all assumed and taken into consideration. I don't know if it's a matter of thinking they've got to have end-to-end encryption or everybody's got cheap data or what. There must not be any lingering fans of dumb flip phones! No data, no messaging.

    Bottom line, it's interesting how things become standardized in different regions.

  11. #11
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    99.9% of my wife's friends and family in Europe, mostly Hungary, currently use FB Messenger, as does our daughter in Canada. MOST of them used Viber and/or Skype 6 or 7 years ago. If there's a temporary glitch in Messenger, they still fall back to Viber, and I no longer hear about any of them still using Skype. To my knowledge, none of them use/used WhatsApp.

    But I have a friend from Poland, and her parents and family in/from Poland mostly use/used WhatsApp. I haven't asked if they've made any change since FB started forcing users to share personal data with FB.

    whacker, is Chat anything like Messenger? Do you just log into it with your Gmail credentials?

  12. #12
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    Well yeah, its like (FB) Messenger, but its also like Hangouts too. Typically on an Android phone you're always logged on to it (like Gmail, Hangouts, GV) and it's just looking to communicate with someone else that has a Google account who's in your contacts or who you've entered their Gmail address in (and has the app).

    I think (trying to remember back when I first sent a message with Hangouts) at first contact it's like you're inviting someone to accept your message. I think that's how Chat will be. It is currently synced with Hangouts and conversations have just been migrated over to Chat, so I've been messaging my sister (still on Hangouts) transparently.

    The layout is a little plain. Instead of the staggered conversation line "bubbles" of you and your chat partner (with a distinguishing color), the conversation segments are just in a left-justified stack. A lot of people are complaining about that. But it works. I've only used it with my one contact (sister).

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