Hangouts for Android has finally received a long awaited updated. It finally has a material-ish design and seems a bit faster. Unfortunately it falls very short of remarkable.
I have been testing the app for the last few hours and here is a short list of what is still missing and/or broken. I have listed them in order from my highest grievance to the least:
This is truly embarrassing. Google is a search company. They are really good it. Yet somehow they have failed to include any method for searching through past conversations. Can’t remember an address or phone number someone sent you the in the past? Better run to your computer to search.
Google, please let me search through current and archived conversations on my phone. Is that so much to ask?
Edit: There seems to be an inconsistency here. Whenever I send images out they are highly compressed. However, when I receive images from one of the TechDissected writers using the exact same phone, on WiFi, IM and SMS unmerged, they come in at full resolution. This is almost more frustrating to me since I have no idea what to fix. I’ve contacted a Hangouts developer to try to clear this up. Stay tuned.
No way of knowing whether someone is available unless you click into the conversation
A simple indicator of whether someone is available prior to clicking into the conversation would be greatly appreciated. Maybe a little green, yellow, or red bubble?
Requiring three clicks and then a search to initiate new message
In order to send a new message, you need to open the app, click the “+” floating action button, click “new conversation,” then type in the name. It’d be really nice to be able to search immediately after clicking the “+” button.
It does seem faster for me in my limited testing. I wouldn’t classify it as “snappy” or “smooth.” It’s simply an improvement. The redesign, while not quite as nice as it could be, is a welcomed change. The interface is much cleaner especially without the huge green header at the top. Also, for those that use Google Voice it looks like there are some welcomed changes with support for Group MMS. Lastly it also appears there is better integration with Android Wear.
I know Hangouts for Android will likely never be as good as Apple’s iMessage. I understand if I want really integrated and seamless messaging I’m going to need to switch to iOS. However, could Google at least make Hangouts for Android as good as Hangouts for iOS?