Google Hangouts = Chat + Talk + Messenger + Hangout + SMS (?)
Many years back Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, AIM and MSN Messenger were the major applications to chat with our friends or relatives. Specially Yahoo Messenger was the must install on every computer whether at home, in office or in cyber cafes. Then Gmail came and Google Talk was the first choice for chatting. When Google introduced Chat within Gmail, it ended any need for standalone chat clients on desktops and laptops with few exceptions like Skype for video chat. On mobiles the situation was different. There were chat applications for every smartphone platform like Google Talk on Andorid, BBM on Blackberry, iMessage on iOS. Then there were cross-platform messaging applications like Whatsapp, Viber, Kakao Talk, Line etc.
Google unveiled Google Plus in year 2011 to target both computers and mobiles and along with came confusion. Already there was Google Talk but now we were having Google+ Messenger and Google+ Hangout as well. Google Voice was also available in some countries. So in all we were having too many applications for messaging – Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google+ Hangout, Google Voice and above all SMS. There was need for one unified messaging application from Google. Finally Google listened and unveiled Google Hangouts on 15th of May in recent Google I/O 2013.
At present, Google Hangouts will replace Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google+ Hangout and Gmail Chat. It combines features of all of these individual applications and has added new features as well. Google has confirmed to add SMS functionality to Hangouts in near future so that we can have one ultimate messaging application.
Google has taken clue from the competition and introduced good features in Hangouts as below :
– Seamless functionality across all devices whether computer or mobile
– Hangouts stay in sync across devices so you can start or continue them anywhere
– Hangout and message friends anytime, even if they’re not connected right now
– Get notifications just once. Once you see an alert, you won’t see repeats on your computer or other Android devices.
– See when your friends have read your messages and when they’re typing back
– If a friend isn’t available when you try to reach them, they’ll see an alert next time they connect
– Scroll back to any of your Hangouts
– Free video calls with up to 10 persons
– Work on Computer, Android mobiles/tablets, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
– Hangout on Air – Broadcast your conversation to the world for free
For Android – Download Hangouts from Google Play
For iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch – Download Hangouts from iTunes Store
For Computers – Download Chrome Application from Chrome Web Store
Will Google be able to take on the likes of Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Line, iMessage ?