Sometimes I’m a proponent of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and that’s how I feel about this whole Google chat thing. I noticed Google didn’t put out any improvements for Google Talk, the messenger client, for a really long time. I had always assumed that it was because maybe they also believed in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but now I am learning they were working on a whole new project altogether and are looking to phase out Google Talk with Google Hangouts. Maybe I’m just grumpy this morning but I feel like complaining about this new development! Long, long rant. And lots of rage!!!
This new messenger is supposed to be cross platform and totally improved. I would welcome any “improvements,” but I can’t help but feel peeved out by it all because they replaced some really simple and fundamental things that shouldn’t have been scrapped. The whole reason why I chose to use Google Talk over other clients in the first place is because it was so simple. There were no extra frills and that’s what I loved about it. Sometimes you just want to be able to chat with someone on a simple interface and that is it. The new focus will be a “recent conversations list” where the set up is more like text messaging. There is no more having a contact list organized by people you like to talk to and by who is online. There is no more having an “active” or “idle/away” or “invisible” status anymore. What? But all of those things are the basis of Google Talk and “chatting!” Their reasoning behind the abandonment of any actual status anymore is probably that you can send “offline” messages even when the person is not online (like text messaging). OK, cool, but maybe I’d actually text the person if they weren’t online and I would want to use my messenger to, you know, actually chat with them if I can see them online???
They are replacing this client with something so completely different. Google Hangout is more like a new messaging app, not an improvement on Google Talk (because they have started a new, different system and concept…rather than actually taking GT features and improving them) so I’m not sure why they are lumping the two together. They are targeting a different audience than original Google Talk users…although I realize the number of GT users is probably pretty low. Most people have moved on from AIM (anyone use that anymore?) straight to FaceBook Messenger (ugh, count me out). In the end, I realize it’s because Google won’t want to support Google Talk anymore, so might as well throw old GT users into the new interface to get it started. A Google+ account seems to be necessary (I’m not sure yet though). If not, at the very least they seem to be trying really hard to pushing Google+ at everyone.
On the positive side, I guess it’s cool that this will be something users of all devices can get in on. Apple, Android, and computer users. But then I’m already back to the negative side!!! Google is forcing you to use Chrome (and a Google+ account I assume) if you want to be able to use Google Hangout on your computer. *insert grumble here* What happened to options, man? I fired up Chrome for the first time in ages to give Google Hangout on my MacBook a try and was bombarded with maybe a hundred individual popups asking me permission to give keychain access to all websites that I had login info saved for. *rips hair out* After I manually clicked away all those pop ups and accessed the Google Hangout page, the button to download the desktop app doesn’t work for me! WOW. Can I have a major tantrum right now??? So currently I can only use it on my phone.
It feels like your every move is being watched! Google Hangout has taken the same approach as FaceBook messages where it will mark each message you send as read when someone reads it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t like to respond to people. Not because of the person, specifically. But sometimes, someone I normally talk to will send me a message that I am not ready to respond to yet (for ex: [insert request or personal question here]). I’ll get back to you, but at least give me the privilege of deciding when I’ll respond without making me feel awkward for having read a message and not responding yet! Or when someone reads my message and doesn’t respond right away after they read it, I can assume it’s because of the reasons I mentioned above, or perhaps they read my message but can’t reply instantly because if you’re at work, for example, reading a message is much quicker than composing a reply message. In the end, I’d rather just not need to know whether or not messages are being read. I only care about your reply if you’ll send me one. If it is urgent, send me a text or a phone call, man!
Additionally, all images sent by either party in the conversation will be saved automatically into a private album through Google Hangout – hopefully we’ll have some options regarding this at least. I guess I’m just one of those people who feels like they’re being watched/judged when everything is just so immediate and lacking privacy. I mean, I got freaked out when FaceBook got super stalker-friendly with activity feeds within your news feed page and etc. Now the chat program that I loved is becoming eerily similar.
So, if you couldn’t tell, I am more peeved than I should be over this whole development. I’m sure in due time I’ll ironically jump on the bandwagon just like everyone else and get used to it, but for now I’m going to mope over the slow (or quick?) death of Google Talk.