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 ?


What lies ahead for Geary email client?


I talked about Geary – A Very Simple Email Client for Linux last month. In April 2013, Yorba – the makers of Geary email client, have launched a crowd funding campaign to raise 100,000 US Dollars. Being an open-source and free application there is no revenue source for Yorba to sustain the development. Unfortunately, the campaign failed as they were able to collect only USD 50,860. According to the rules of the campaign they would get the money only if they were able to collect the whole amount. Now the amount has been returned back to the people who have donated. 

According to Yorba, there are three engineers who are working full time on development of Geary. As mentioned in the fundraising campaign USD 100,000 was the bare minimum amount for paying the salary of engineers and other related expenses. Now the future of Geary is not clear.  In a recent post on their official blog, Yorba has mentioned that they are not stopping the development. In fact, during the campaign itself they have released a maintenance version of Geary.  They are looking to find alternative options to source the funds. They have urged the people who have donated during the campaign to donate directly to Yorba for continuing the development. 

OMG Ubuntu has written about the possible reasons of Why Did Geary’s Fundraiser Fail? The fundraising attempt might have failed but its nice to see that Yorba has not thought of abandoning the project yet. Geary is a very good email client which could have a bright future ahead. We hope that Yorba will be able to get the funds and development will continue.

If you are using Geary and like to see continuing development of Geary, you can also think of donating them.
Donation  link is


Geary – A Very Simple Email Client for Linux

My laptop is dual-boot with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.10 installed side by side. Mostly I prefer to use Ubuntu unless there is special need for Windows – something like working with complex Excel sheets etc.  For emailing I use Gmail in browser for both personal and official (Google Apps) purpose. Gmail has very good interface that’s why it is replacing standalone email clients gradually. But sometimes you need an email client because of various reasons like accessing in offline mode, for backup or handling multiple accounts. Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird are the two major email clients available . Outlook comes bundled with Microsoft Office and Thunderbird is free to download. Outlook is available only for Windows and Mac while Thunderbird is available for all major operating systems including Windows, Mac and Linux. In fact, Thunderbird comes pre-installed on Ubuntu since version 11.10 when it replaced Evolution email client. Both Outlook and Thunderbird are very good email clients having many features but I always feel that they are good to be used with POP3 and not with IMAP. IMAP implementation is never very good either in Outlook or in Thunderbird. I was in search of a lightweight and simple email client which handles IMAP in a better way.

Then I found Geary which is a very simple, fast and lightweight email client for Linux. Geary has been developed by Yorba, the makers of Shotwell photo organizing application for Linux. Shotwell is the default photo organizer application on Ubuntu. Geary is a very new application, it’s latest version is 0.3 which has been released last month only. Geary is designed with keeping simple and easy design in mind. It displays multi-threaded emails in conversations mode same like we have seen in Gmail. Setting up an email account is very easy in Geary, it needs only username and password for both Gmail and Yahoo Mail. For other email accounts we need to provide IMAP and SMTP server details. It works only with IMAP as of now, there is no provision for POP3 accounts. Like most email clients it has three viewing panes – one each for Navigation, Message List and Message View. It has good integration with Gmail as it displays all Gmail Labels flawlessly.

Geary is completely free to download and available for Ubuntu and other Linux distros like Fedora, Debian etc. For Ubuntu 12.10 its available in Ubuntu Software Center. For command line lovers, you need to open Terminal and need to run below commands –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install geary

Geary is very new and it has few limitations as well. Search option is still not available and it works only with Gmail, Yahoo and few other IMAP servers. I hope to see Geary in mainstream use in near future as the developers have plan to add these missing features and also a plugin system in next releases.