Chat, Meet, Hangouts: How many messaging apps does Google have, anyway?

New year, new overhaul of Google’s messaging apps. The software giant recently started notifying users of the Google Chat app about integrating old Hangouts conversations and contacts into the new app. The news may mark the beginning of the end of Hangouts, but there is no indication that Google is on the verge of ending its confusing messaging app strategy.

  • Google Chat to integrate Hangouts contacts and conversations
  • Google Chat was originally launched as Hangouts Chat
  • The application was previously focused on business communication

Google Chat was launched in 2017 under the name Hangouts Chat – along with the old Hangouts Meet, later renamed Google Meet – with the aim of being a communication tool in businesses, positioned in relation to services like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Even then, Google had hinted at plans to discontinue Hangouts, itself heir to the legacy of the old GTalk or Google Talk. Despite several initiatives by the company to popularize the app, which for a few years even positioned itself as the default app for texting on Android, the service has been left behind by competitors like WhatsApp, Telegram and others.

Common reception

As previously announced, Google has also started to reposition Google Chat as a personal service, integrating contacts from the Hangouts list. This also includes the conversation history and the ability to search by profiles, as reporter Ron Amadeo showed on Twitter:

The integration still doesn’t include group chats and the video calling system is now done by Google Meet – with an invite link sent to chat contacts and old profiles still on the other app – instead of the integrated Hangouts service.

2021 02 25 Google messages

Video calls are redirected from Google Chat to Meet / © Techo State

Confusing message

If Google finally sticks to its intention to shut down Hangouts, it wouldn’t be surprising if the move pushes the few remaining users away from the service, who have already migrated from Google Talk to the current app.

Currently, the company offers a confusing range of different communication services, which has been exacerbated by repeated names and different applications for the same function, separated between professional and private audiences. The Hangouts shutdown strategy seems to indicate that Google is aware of the problem, but the constant changes – and product cancellations – don’t inspire much confidence.

At the time of writing, Google offered (at least) seven different communication apps, some of them competing with each other. Let’s try to briefly summarize each of them:

Actual status

App Function Public Competitors
Hangouts Instant messaging House Whatsapp, telegram
Google Chat Business communication Business / domestic Slack, teams
Google meet Video call Company / Home Zoom, teams, WebEx
Google Duo Video call House Skype, messaging rooms
the voice of google Phone calls
Messaging (some countries)
Company (some countries)
Phone hangouts Phone calls National Skype
messages SMS / MMS / RCS Business / domestic iMessage

Previously, the company also offered services like Allo for instant messaging, Buzz for messaging and social media, and many more. Google’s sheer amount of communication alternatives – not counting services like Gmail, Inbox or communication suites – inspired a humorous proposal from the same Amadeo on Twitter, suggesting naming the various services as numbered editions of game series. sport:

And you? Until which season did you follow Google’s communication applications? Do you remember a service that was not mentioned or that deserved more attention? Give your opinion in the Techo State community.

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