Yesterday, Google practically forced free Hangouts users to sign out and swap over to its new golden child – Google Chat. With that, it seems that many users were extremely dissatisfied with the seemingly abrupt change. Sure, the company forewarned that these changes were incoming, but for many, the transition was still sudden and jarring. First spotted by Droid Life loads of people are taking to the Google Play Store to share their displeasure publicly.
Over the past 48 hours, the app has already received thousands of one-star reviews – directly correlating with the transition for free users. Much of the discontent centers around the app not having features that Hangouts had – voice and video calling (Google re-routes you to Meet, or users can choose to use Duo for personal calls), multiple, simultaneous, image attachment, and more. Chat was designed for Workspace users and then ported over to general consumers, so it’s understandable that a product not originally intended for the latter would cause frustration.
Chat now sits at a 2.8-star rating with a large portion of its reviews being negative. The worse part is that Google’s response to each review it’s replied to is canned, often pointing to general troubleshooting steps that equate to ‘did you turn it off and on again?’, ‘is it plugged into the wall?’, and ‘Please tell us via the feedback button instead of leaving a 1-star review…please?’
Several of the reviews indicate that the posters can’t receive notifications even after toggling them in their phone’s settings, a lack of Google Voice integration, issues with link sharing, a dislike of specific UI and UX design decisions, a hatred for being left with empty rooms after everyone leaves (I hate this too! – why can’t we just delete them?), a lack of Android Auto integration, and more.
Overall, the consensus is that Google failed to bring Chat to feature parity with Hangouts before releasing it. With so many years of forcing users to hang out in Hangouts, it seems they’ve come to enjoy it quite a bit by the end. Google’s M.O. seems to be to release something half-baked and then to iterate on it in real-time, but this obviously isn’t going over well with many, many people.
What do you think? Does Google Chat meet your expectations? I personally just use it casually, so I don’t have many of these complaints, but I can certainly understand them. There’s always going to be an element of distaste for something that looks or functions slightly differently than that which people have become accustomed to, but it seems the company has struck a nerve with non-Workspace users, and it may warrant an official response or at least some changes.
Google Chat Review Bomb Hall of Fame (Just from the first page)
At least give me the features hangouts hadAndre Putnam
Horrible “replacement” for Hangouts. Missing features, almost useless for “personal” accounts. Leave it alone, Hangouts with Voice integration was almost perfect! Also, it doesn’t work with Android Auto! Talk about a major oversight!Steve Neetz
This app is hot garbage when compared to Hangouts. Options are non existent. Cant even figure out how to change incoming sound notifications. Sending multiple pictures at a time isn’t available. Why does Google always feel the need to go backwards when creating new software to take the place of already existing software and make the experience ten times worse? My suggestion is use something else. Stop using as many Google services as you can because they always disappoint in the end.mydarkarmy
If you’re going to force your users to stop using one product in favor of another, be sure that the new product has feature parity at the least. Otherwise, you drive your users to the competition’s products. Yet another example of how Google severely lacks in the Product Management competency.Tony
With this app Google once again proved that they understand nothing about user experience, or wishes. They took hangouts and stripped everything that was fun about it: the chat bubbles, the in-app image viewer, the reaction stickers, the colours and custom avatars and turned it into a bland attempt at a clone of Microsoft teams. I don’t care about assigning tasks or file storage, I just want to keep using hangouts as it is, not be forced to use this primary school IT project.
If you’re going to replace hangouts, at least provide feature parity. Sharing images in chat is terrible compared to hangouts. Group read receipts are missing in rooms. The justification for all conversation is now the same, rather than having my conversation justified right and all others justified left. I rarely write app reviews, especially negative ones… But this really got to me.Joe Bellio
Stop replacing apps that make us happyDark sige /DF the Dragon emperor
RIP HangoutsRhett Robinson