Another new update to Hangouts, now you can broadcast your hangouts to people everywhere. Cool. I don’t use hangouts, but I think it is a cool feature and will give it a try sometime. What I do use often is Google Talk. To be clear, I converse with very few people on Google Talk. The majority of the conversations happen on Facebook and WhatsApp. I am an Ubuntu user and the Skype client Linux sucks, so no Skype for me.
I remember distinctly when GTalk was the main IM client for most. Yahoo Messenger, its main competitor, was big and bloated. Like most things Google at that time, GTalk and its GMail plugin were fast, clean and reliable.
Somehow, Google just lost love for GTalk. The Windows client did not get any update and the service became slow, buggy and unreliable. On my Android phone, the Talk client loses messages in between. The GMail Talk plugin keeps playing its own game of disconnected – connecting – yeah, we are back - disconnected. To my knowledge, there isn’t any good iPad app for GTalk. Compare that to the omnipresent WhatsApp, and the ever improving Facebook Messenger, and you will wonder why is Google not interested in Talk.
To my naive mind earlier, the reason for Google’s lack of interest was that personal communications are not a big enough market. But, Apple’s launch of Facetime and iMessage, Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, Facebook’s resolute efforts on Messenger, Samsung’s ChatOn etc have proved that my naive assumption was entirely incorrect.
Hangouts are one of the few/only interesting thing about Google+ right now. Instead of building this we-will-kill Facebook product, what if Google had iterated on Talk and become the dominant online conversation tool.
I will update the post if I find any reason behind what happened.