Google to take another shot at a chat app

Google to take another shot at a chat app
According to the Economic Times, Google is working on and will be looking to launch its own chat app some time in 2015. Yes, we know the obvious question is – "Doesn't Google Hangouts cover this already?". Well, it does and it doesn't – sure, users can use Hangouts to connect and chat, but it hasn't been very popular. One of the main reasons is that it started off as yet another part of the Google+ network, which seeks to connect everything with your Gmail profile. And since Google+ isn't exactly popular, a lot of users got put off by the idea of having to go through the procedure of setting up a profile, in order to get to Hangouts (even if it's simple – it's the perceived hassle that is enough to discourage most users). This coupling has now been removed and all one needs for a Hangouts profile is their Gmail account (which anyone using an Android phone has), but alas - it seems it's too late for most users to be interested enough to try it, while others are having privacy concerns over having their email synced to a chat app.

Now, competitor apps, such as WhatsApp, are easier to set up, accessible, and obviously pack enough features, as they have been a competitor to Facebook's Messenger for a while now. According to a survey, taken prior to Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, the latter's messaging service was more widely used than the most popular social network's own offering.

So, according to the report, Google will be looking to learn from the competition and will not require Gmail account sync with its new chat app. Instead – it will employ phone number verification – just like WhatsApp, Viber, and others. The app will be tested in India first – the country where Google is looking to gain momentum with its Android One program, and reach “the next 5 billion users”.

Why a new app, instead of reworking Hangouts? Maybe Google is looking to launch a service exclusive to India. Or maybe it wants a chat app, clean of Hangouts' past - let's be fair, it didn't have the best of receptions.

There is no denying that Google is one of the biggest players when it comes to mail, search, ads, and of course – mobile OS, but for some reason – the company just can't seem to put its finger on social. Do you think a Google chat app that doesn't require a Gmail sync has a better chance of success? Or does the problem lie deeper?

source: TheEconomicTimes via Reuters

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15 Comments

1. jerzyiroc

Posts: 36; Member since: Sep 16, 2014

"To top it off, it still lacks in the group messaging and emoji departments." What? Group messaging is perfectly fine on Hangouts. And what's wrong with the emoji's?

3. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

This author is a bit behind the times. G+ is being unwound at google all over.

4. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

what's more, hangouts already uses phone number verification... and does not require g+.

7. paul.k

Posts: 294; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

True, it can make use of your phone number, but it's optional, while a Gmail account is mandatory. Anyway, reworded a bit, thanks

2. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Wow.. talk about misinformed. With the latest Google Hangouts update, you no longer need to use Google+. Furthermore, you can have up to 15 people in video calls, and of course can do group calls and texts as well. I fail to see what offering another chat app would do for Google, other than confuse users. I now have a Texting app and Hangouts on my phone.. I can text through the texting app or hangouts. Now I'll be able to im through this stand alone app or hangouts?

5. bestmvno

Posts: 251; Member since: Mar 07, 2014

Yes, something seems a miss here. Plus hangouts already does a phone number verification. Although I suppose it can be used in a slightly different matter. Hangouts does MMS already too, plus there's the whole free phone call thing. I can't see them coming out with another app, it would be pointless. Maybe adding new features. Rebranding again also seems a bit weird, going from talk, to hangouts to something else in just a few short years?

6. M_Shaaban

Posts: 4; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

All they need to do is to enhance the SMS and MMS finctionality and make it a reliable and well functioning SMS/MMS app. I still haven't switched to Hangouts SMS and using the HTC SMS App. Also, there are missing functions in the Google Keyboard when typing in Hangouts!

8. Analogeek

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

Nevertheless, it seems it's a bit late for Google to catch up. They/we had Google Talk, which was quite fine for what it was destined to, and it could have been maintained or improved without trying to force everybody to go in the "everything Google" direction. But they literally screw it up. Now that WhatsApp, Viber, Line & co. have occupied the mind of the users, it's more or less clear for most of them : "Google is made for search and mail, let's chat with what is dedicated to chat". Hangouts may have been greatly improved recently, it will be hard to reach the level of the top players now. Why take the time to look somewhere else (Hangouts) while there's a relatively straightforward way to get in the conversation (WhatsApp & co) ? Never forget: "We don't have a second chance to make a first impression" (Tristan Nitot, Mozilla Europe).

9. Rager722 unregistered

What I see the most complaints about Hangouts on Google play is that there is no theme changer.

10. redbaronk12

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 14, 2013

Won't use Hangouts for SMS until it has a lock screen popup. Also it would be nice if Hangouts allow custom LED colors for individual contacts.

11. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1260; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Why not buy some existing ones like say Hike or Telegram???

12. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

I use hangouts for text and IM, I'm so happy with it!

13. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Who said it would be a different chat app? Could just be a modified version of Hangouts...

14. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Because everyone really wants a chat app from t̶h̶e̶ ̶N̶S̶A̶  Google.

15. apurvdate

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 18, 2013

oh if they are planning to try it out in India..its gonna be tough !! almost every one is whatsapp addict..then comes fb messenger..and still a large part of crowd is BBM centric.. viber, we chat, line messenger all failed to gain userbase even with big advrts & promotions..

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