Google could have been a major player in messaging if they had just stuck with GChat/Google talk from the early Gmail days and kept investing in it. It was great on the early versions of Android! The failure here is entirely self imposed and a major indictment of their senior management team.
>Google could have been a major player in messaging if they had just stuck with GChat/Google talk from the early Gmail days and kept investing in it.
That's just not what Google was back then. It was all about PMs/designers wanting to jump onto the shinest and newest projects and lots of politics were involved to win support/attention/resources from the top management.
I once worked at a startup that made the mistake of hiring an entire remote product team from silicon valley. All they did in the year before they mass resigned was inject drama and politics into everything and force some really bad design decisions that will quite possibly kill the company in a year or so. Got me thinking what it must be like at scale.
Interesting, because it seems (from the outside) like that was what Microsoft was like internally for years. Blogs like mini-ms seemed to confirm some of that, but of course that was "just one side" of the story.
It’s quite an amazing transformation Microsoft has gone through, never complete of course, but still impressive.
What is Social? Is that at major product vertical within Google? "Possibly" is a potential good answer here :).
As I understand it, GChat wasn't seen seen as able to integrate well into G+. So Hangouts was built on the G+/social infrastructure.
To that team's credit they did somewhat seamlessly move users over from GChat to Hangouts without many hiccups.
Of course, after the G+ effort disintegrated... we got Allo & Duo
I don't think it's a bad thing that google ha a diverse set of products that didn't work together. I don't need my google calc/excel to integrate with youtube, and I don't need google play music to integrate with gmail.
Google should look at these things as individual companies, which it seems like is something that they finally somewhat figured out with the alphabet rebrand. Just let gmail be a successful company on its own, and let youtube be a successful company on its own. From my perspective as a user, things actually get worse when all of these things try to play together.
That makes sense to an extent. Unfortunately, Google has created a number of products or "companies" with overlapping features that are in direct competition with one another. Just in the communication space, they have: Hangouts, Gmail, Inbox, Allo, Duo, Messages, and Google Voice.
These actively compete with one another and make the sum of all the products worse than just one good product. If I want to send an SMS message, I can currently use Hangouts, Messages, or Google Voice. I don't want to decide which to use, and I certainly don't want the one I choose to just disappear one day while I get booted over to another app.
A 'product' is something you sell to clients.
Google's only product is advertising, and they don't need to focus on making better advertising because they are a monopoly.
Everything else Google does is just a smokescreen for investors and a creeping fear that they won't be able to exist in a post-monopoly world.
Google's main product is user attention, which they sell to advertisers in the form of advertising.
Right now, they farm this attention mostly through web search, but hone it through data they collect with other venues, such as e.g. location and other data collected from Android handsets, the vast tentacles of Google Analytics, Google DNS, G-Suite (GMail, G Docs, G Drive, ...) etc.
AFAIK, G-Suite for business is actually making money (a round-off error compared to advertising, but still, a profitable business), and the various cloud storage and compute offering are actually making money that is not a round-off error (though still dwarfed by advertising).
Also, they DO need to make better advertising (and farm better attention), because they are in many ways a "natural monopoly" - they're the monopoly because they are the best in many ways, mostly not because of network effects or anti-competitive behaviour (which they have practiced at times, especially with YouTube, but not nearly to the extent practiced by any other player of this size).
I would take that (as anything else) with a grain of salt. They might not today, but things change and they might tomorrow (you know, they used to "not be evil" and they aren't anymore).
Furthermore, rest assured that everyone who can, which includes - but is not limited to - three letter agencies, is monitoring traffic into 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52
And if you compare to what happens on hotels' or other such dns servers.
I'm saying, perhaps things will change at Google, but they'd have to change a whole lot before they'd be as bad as the normal alternative.
Not true. Their advertising business is absolutely built on network effects. Advertisers advertise where there is user data (anything else is a money losing proposition), and lots of user data collection only happens in services that have the money to host (and curate) a large search index, which in turn needs a healthy and growing ad business.
It's a self-serving cycle that eventually leads to one player becoming the monopoly.
(Same deal with social networks, though less pronounced.)
Microsoft has the money to to host and curate a large search index, funded by their other businesses. And after more than a decade, they've gotten almost nowhere -- everyone I know who tried Bing (or DDG) goes back to Google for quality.
Whereas e.g. Facebook and WhatsApp do have a network effect - you have no use for them unless your friends use them too, so a new contender - no matter how well funded e.g. Google+ - is not useful until critical mass is achieved; and critical mass is not achieved until it is useful.
Weird, because I pay them monthly for google play music, and for google apps, and for youtube red, and for youtube TV.
I also have several android devices, and look forward to paying them every time I get into a waymo.
Google has LOTS of products. The "you aren't the customer you're the product!" redditism is just wrong. It's something that sounds really insightful if you don't know anything about the company, or are trying to stir up drama.
The acronym simply means either product manager, project manager, or program manager, but the responsibilities can be any/all of the following, and probably more, depending on the company:
- Full product owner, "the buck stops here" person. Many different possible titles here other than PM (usually "project manager" if that's the title), like general manager (GM), different flavors of producer, product owner (PO), VP of X, etc.
- Feature designer/owner/manager (product manager): writing specs (junior), pitching specs (mid-level), setting and selling product vision (senior), driving strategy (staff/exec, though at that level all roles start to get blurry). Decent business school grad representation here, you have to be good at strategy, negotiation, communication, and Powerpoint; having good product ideas helps a lot, too, but not if you can't sell them. A persuasive PM of this type is a force to be reckoned with and will get a lot of executive attention, which can be very good or very bad depending on whether the strategy they're into pans out or not. This is probably the type of PM the parent was talking about "armies of".
- Development director (project manager or program manager): a whip-cracker at worst or an impenetrable shitshield at best, they manage the practicalities of running a project, like project scoping, meeting and managing hard/soft deadlines, handling support, cross-team communications, processes, compliance, etc., often stepping in as an all-purpose guard against randomization so that others can focus on producing the product. Many PMs of this type ended up being the go-to folks for GDPR compliance over the past couple years, so it's not just internal process stuff that they deal with.
- Task checker: can blend into to the development director mentioned above, but at some companies this sort of PM will mainly focus on tracking tasks that are in-progress, getting estimates, watching velocity, and sending reports up the chain. Some devs find this role pointless and annoying, but it really depends on how good they are - if they're solid, they'll find a lot of ways to improve things instead of just tracking them.
- Scrum Master (project manager): Big-S Scrum is falling out of favor so it's not as fashionable to have this title anymore, but within some processes a similar role still exists as a type of project manager. In a nutshell, Scrum is a simple yet effective "People Over Process" process that consists of a bi-weekly no-laptops-allowed retrospective meeting where you get the team together to have a free-ranging discussion where everyone feels heard, so that you can all decide together whether the team should estimate engineering tasks in terms of hours or hats. You need a trained and certified Master because otherwise people new to Scrum might not know to pick hats. A more seasoned Scrum Master will also schedule a quarterly retrospective-retrospective where the team discusses a strategy for what guidelines to put in place for the next retrospective so that the team can decide on hats faster and leave more time for the less settled question about whether or not the Fibonacci sequence is the right way to count hats or if a size-based approach will make people feel better supported in their work.
- Monetization designer (product manager): mainly at game companies, PM is often a super different role, probably best described as the profitability-focused counterpart to a game designer. They focus on setting prices, managing game economies, speccing and evaluating A/B tests, inventing loot boxes, etc. Ideally PM and designer would be one and the same, and the game design would be holistic with the monetization, with a designer that has serious Excel/analytics chops and deep inspiration and sensitivity about gameplay, but that's a more rare combination than you'd think, so a lot of companies split them out.
I'm probably missing some other ways this acronym is overloaded, but I think this covers most of it.
You certainly don't need a certified scrum master. Ideally, the scrum master should be somebody who is already in the team. A scrum master who does just that is really a project manager, and having a project manager is, IMHO, antithetical to doing scrum.
Project Manager: manages day-to-day running for project e.g. fighting for the right number of devs, designers etc
Product Manager: (also product owner) determines what the product should look like.
Not necessarily. In many companies 'project manager' is just the techie name of what used to be called a 'secretary'.
A Product Manager doesn't need to have a technical background, but a Project Manager should.
A totally new, half-baked business product called Hangouts Chat.
The UI is useless, Google try to be clever about “conversation” and tries to group them together, but now people miss most conversations that happen when they aren’t looking. Notification is broken, you can only get to many or not enough.
Chat seems to be designed by the same incompetent team of interns that did Google Groups. Using the two products feel oddly similar.
Again it's personal, but I feel that Chat is a prototype. The interface is butt ugly, almost like it's something that's just slapped together to the if the backend actually works.
I'm not quite sure how though, it just happened.
For real communication we have letter so in digital world mails or we have phone calls so in digital world VoIP one's extended with eventually video/screen sharing and conferencing capabilities, no more.
Discord, Slack, ... are all only a mean to keep abandonware live for business purpose and, unfortunately, many companies fell in the grave. People who want productivity should rediscover classic software, modernized to actual "graphic style" but nothing more so:
- good desktop MUA (I can, unfortunately, only list notmuch-emacs, mu4e, mutt, pine) instead of limited and limiting webmails. Of course we have to add few things to the mix like having our mails in a local maildir and a good filtering/autorefile/autotagging solution (alot, IMAPFilter);
- good VoIP desk/softphones, something like old sip-communicator (now Jitsy);
- decent software to share screen as needed (actually I know only proprietary one's like bomgar, anydesk or teamviewer, xpra etc are simply too limited);
- local, well integrated, productivity suite. Mine is Emacs, not easy to convince office guys to learn it, but even ancient plain office suite can do the business with a decent DMS that enforce good taxonomy and have decent full-text search (YaCy for search, nothing for DMS in my list... They are all crap)...
If a potential employer told me they relied on VoIP phones over Slack/Discord I would consider that a _major_ point against them.
Of course voice will be faster--eight out of ten times at least one involved party's main goal is just to get off the phone.
Optimizing for time is a mistake. Optimize for disruption (I can switch back to other work while waiting for a chat reply--there's context-switching overhead there, but not nearly as much as a phone call), retention (I can refer back to what someone said in chat, rather than "hey, Jane, what was that hostname again?", waiting for an atrocious speech-to-text conversion, or manually seeking around in a call recording), and mutual investment in communication (professional or not, a synchronous call usually has at least one participant that wants to be there less than the other[s]--in chat, people can participate when they're most interested in doing so, meaning that their contributions are less half-assed).
There are situations where sync is best (trying to pitch something or persuade colleagues of something is a big one--it's just easier to reject/be reluctant without engaging critically via chat for some reason). But a lot of the time chat is more efficient.
I've found that many people I've worked with who strongly dislike chat are not practiced or comfortable writers in general, and, after some training (if such folks are willing, I've had them take documentation, presentation-building, or RFC/RFO writing tasks as practice), they tend to be much, much happier about (and better at!) textual communication.
Fortunately I'm in EU (France) so I have still a bit of choice (less and less, unfortunately) to avoid certain bureaucratic companies too much common in modern English world (and I evidence modern because when UK was a real power and USA was a really strong economy they do NOT have such modern mania or at least it was far far far less developed).
What I simply measure is how much I can do with single tasking concentrated operation vs how much I can do and how bad the resulting quality is when I multitask. The result are simple: the more I try to be quick the more error and time I waste, the more I go calm the best result I achieve.
And while I do not have real consistent data I can see result of a certain kind of work paradigm everyday in any aspect of our society.
Not at all. Voice chat is synchronous - you must stop whatever you're doing and listen or talk in real time. And people nearby will overhear.
Chat is asynchronous and private. I can chat and consult a colleague while I'm in a meeting with a client. I can keep a chat open while coding and read/respond when I'm not most concentrated. I can go offline and answer a question the next day.
Text chat isn't literally "chatting through text". It's email with a different UX, more suited for quick communication.
Many have thought and still think that multitasking and quick things are productive, I see the exact opposite. And we can see it at another level in mean per capita hourly productivity: in the past (so before business model substantially merge around the world) French hourly productivity was the highest in the world, and they are still one of the less-working in term of hours and holidays. USA, Japan and Germany are the opposite, they work far more and have a far lower hourly productivity. To the over extreme try the difference between a lover vs a prostitute...
Open spaces are another TOTALLY unproductive things, born only to push more economic constructions sold as a higher price and facilitate reorganization. The letter also is one of the less productive thing we have if done constantly because any change, if positive, demand time to start pay back, doing constantly means NEVER get paid back, only suffer the change itself.
I guess Google really is turning into Microsoft!
So, to compete with Skype for Business?
Messages <-> iMessage
Duo <-> Facetime
Hangouts <-> Slack
I think they should rename the Hangouts to something completely different. That at least will increase clarity for consumers and businesses.
Hangouts is also integrated with Google Voice and GMail. So when someone calls my GV phone number, it rings on my cell phone and in any open GMail tab (but not in the GMail app). I get an SMS, it pops up as a hangouts message too.
It is a mess, but trying to kill Hangouts is insane, it's deeply integrated and it's extremely convenient to use.
Unless you have google voice installed instead of hangouts. It manages to be two apps still.
All these "side projects" create the illusion that Google is not a monopoly. More importantly, new Product X, whatever it is, helps to attract new top talent. Top Talent is going to want to fix old things, they want to build new.
While this might sound a bit extreme, even if it's not actually true (in tandem) both of these "incentives" are real. Google does need to mask its dominance. And it does need to attract top talent (if only to keep soneone else from acquiring it).
Is that really true? I would personally chose to work on Facetime than Google's new messaging system, all else being equal.
Facetime is really solid and I'm sure I could learn a ton from the expertise there; as well as working on something new within that product.
In contrast, Google's messaging systems just seem like a mess. I would feel like it could be cancelled at any time, that we didn't have the best talent (because it's spread across the various systems) and honestly would be slightly embarrassed to talk about it ("yeah, I know, yet another message system from Google").
Messages app is very primitive. I like hangouts way more. I can hop from text message to video chat with family with a single click. My project fi integrates nicely too, and to me this is a pretty good value prop.
Disclaimer, google employee in an unrelated product.
How is hangouts ugly or outdated? I've heard this from several people and I don't know to what y'all are referring.
I have no particular love or hate for hangouts, I'm just curious.
But the #1 thing that stops me from even considering buying an Android device is "it's not iMessage".
iMessage doesn't have single click to video, but it's also automatic. No hassle at all and I can blue bubble send perfection to any other iPhone-r. It's also synced to all my devices flawlessly.
I think that's what is really missing. People don't mind opening another app to place call / facetime / hangout video. They want simple, clear phone messaging that isn't an "app"
>It's also synced to all my devices flawlessly.
But as for Hangouts being flawless messaging and not just some buggy app, I have to disagree.
Often I'll type a message and hit send, it will stay in sending and never actually send. I'll need to kill the app and when I reopen, the message is gone but if I retype it and hit send, it sends immediately. This is on a Pixel 2 with Project Fi or WiFi.
Clearly that aren't doing something properly and I feel quality of the app has degraded as their efforts go elsewhere, viz. Allo, messages, etc.
Hangouts is flawless on the browser on my laptop though.
I have a Pixel 2, with Project Fi, and haven't ever really had this issue.
Disclaimer: there are no ios devices in my house and I am android guy all the way. But wow does messaging suck compared to ios world
I don't think i got what you are saying... What do you mean automatic?
So, if setting up a phone for nana, you take it out of the box, set her up with an Apple ID, put it back in the box, send it to her, she takes it out of the box, and then you call or text her, all she has to do is answer the call. No futzing with downloading the right app, no having to make sure the person on the other end is using the same chat service; just doing it.
A friend on iOS think he has sent you a (SMS) text message.
You don't get it on your (non-apple) phone.
You don't get it on your (non-apple) work computer.
Three weeks later you log on to your iMac/mac-mini/whatever that you hardly ever use to find messages from whoever uses apple phones and has your email address on their contacts. It turns out that logging in to your desktop PC can link your AppleId (email address) to iMessage and start swallowing your text messages. You can only rectify this setting on an apple computer.
(Yes, I know I'm an edge case but I will never see iMessage as a good thing, walled gardens can suck).
Yeah, there's clarity at the end, but there could have been a cartoon in 4 frames:
Frame 1: icons of Allo, Duo, Hangouts, Messaging
Frame 2: Hangouts splits into Meet and Chat (5 things)
Frame 3: Duo, Messaging, Meet annd Chat arranged in a 2x2 grid of (messaging, phone/video) x (consumer, business), with Allo still hanging above
Frame 4: Allo getting squeezed into Messaging.
At any given moment in time, Google's messaging attempts look silly and confusing, but imagine seeing it over time - it'd look downright insane.
Based on one of the most famous visualizations of all times - Napoleon's 1812 invasion of russia
I felt like Allo was actually a really great product. Comparing it's UX and features to other messaging apps out there, I felt like it was one of the most polished (iMessage or FB Messenger being similar). From a product strategy POV, it felt like a product targeting Asia (specifically India, as it launched with Indian themed sticker packs), at least at launch, but that changed over time. Also, it's important to distinguish Allo from Hangouts from the account perspective. Allo is phone # tied, like WhatsApp/Telegram. So definitely trying to go after a different market segment. It just failed.
Duo continues to be awesome. Being a FaceTime competitor that is cross-platform is great. No account needed, just simply start a video chat from your address book (or from the App).
Hangouts is... something special. There are clearly reasons things happened the way they did. But I think it's good to see that Hangouts Chat/Meet will be open to consumers eventually.
Much better would have been to attach phone numbers to Hangouts, similar to how iMessage ties phone numbers to Apple IDs.
My problems with it were:
* It used the "phone is the source of truth" like Whatsapp, but it didn't go with always-on encryption (so they could do Google assistant in it).
* They didn't launch with a desktop web client, which it eventually got (and I really like it).
* It didn't launch with any kind of backup/restore system, though it eventually got it (so you could move to new phones).
Things I liked:
* Encrypted chats (incognito mode) worked well and had expiring messages.
* The Overall UX/UI for the mobile app and Desktop are (in my opinion) better than all the other messaging apps out there (except maybe iMessage). (Though I don't use any FB products.)
* It was on iOS and Android, and had the same features on both.
1. feature parity wasn't there. i already have whatsapp,you're asking me to move. feature parity would be minimum requirement
2. it didn't auto discover people like whatsapp does(or atleast it didn't when i tried it initially), people needed to sign up for it adding friction to an already unpleasant process of getting people to switch
3. duo wasn't in allo and allo wasn't in duo. if there had been just one app it would have had a greater value prop(at the time) of chats with video chatting. instead there was a whole 'nother app to manage. once whatsapp announced voice calls(followed by video) getting anyone to "allo/duo" was absurd
4.i remember number porting was buggy in some way, just flat out didn't work for 2 days
can't remember the rest but i remember something about the emojis bugging me(google implementation different from whatsapp) and being unable to send pdfs
it needed to compete from day one not "find it's feet" gradually. i find this to be a problem with all google products really
Would you, please, elaborate?
And this works even if your phone is off, lost, broken, or has no service. Hangouts also works on any device with an internet connection if you log in. You can text and call from your number on literally any device just by signing into hangouts. None of the multitude of other redundant Google messaging products does any of this. Even their official replacement "messages" only works if your phone is on and has service.
You don't even need a phone to call and text from a laptop through GMail from your phone number. That functionality will be lost.
I simply cannot imagine using anything else. Those who haven't experienced this workflow don't know what they are missing.
I do 200-400 texts weekly and this saves me easily 1 hour per week in gained efficiency (context switching, fumbling with phone fingerprint unlocking, composing text on small phone keyboard...)
Another Google Fi user here. To be clear (since this was a shock when I learned it this morning) - you can text from your computer with a full size keyboard with Android Messages now. It's just more WhatsApp-style where it's paired with your phone, so you need to have your phone on and working. It also isn't integrated right into Gmail. So it's not as nice but it's got the "killer feature" of texting from your computer (which, I agree, is killer) at least.
I just want to use my provider for data. Lemme call and text via the web/app, keep my number safe, and my money is yours...
Didn't Google get badly burned integrating chat into gmail (Google buzz)?
What you said doesnt make sense is actually easy to get hooked up onto. I get a phone call, and i can answer it from my laptop, or it goes to voice mail and i get a transcript. It is amazing.
The below is my take on Hangouts based on it's history here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Hangouts
It's interesting to remember that it was born out eating multiple existing services (GChat/GoogleTalk, Huddle, and some other things probably). When it launched, it was trying to cleanup Google's fragmented text/video messaging strategy.
One funny thing is how message history search worked. There is no in-app searching history. You can search on the Gmail desktop client and see history, but no where else (no mobile app. Not in Inbox. No-where but gmail desktop).
Along the way they added SMS support for it, which they later scrapped for everyone except Project Fi/Voice customers.
Hangouts has done a lot in the last 5.5 years (since its launch). It may have tried to do too much, which may have caused some problems (especially on usability).
Hangouts Chat and Meet seem to try to start fresh and build a good product focused on business customers. How that plays out for normal gmail consumers has yet to be seen; I'm really hoping they do a good job with it.
Google isn't going to win the messaging space by building a kitchen sink messaging app that is compatible with everything, so they need to look for opportunities in the market that they can capitalize on.
Particularly since Google has regulators breathing down their neck, and carriers unwilling to allow an iMessage equivalent on Android.
I don't want to be a Google tester (market or beta), and certainly not for years on end. I don't care about "opportunities in the market that they can capitalize on". Just build one good chat system.
In the areas where Google excels, they didn't get there by applying this throw-everything-at-the-wall strategy. The design of Google Search wasn't the result of 13 years of betas. What do you do when nothing sticks?
If they can stumble around for this long and still feel the need to test half a dozen possible strategies, maybe the correct conclusion is that, unlike Search or Maps, Google doesn't really have anything as a company to offer this product category, and they should just get out and focus on areas where they can contribute.
Build iMessage, but make it work across android, ios, and desktop web.
Allo, despite being shut down got to about the same size as Signal.
you have what you have now,
Messages as a vanilla messaging app
Allo and Duo as flavored products focusing on particular features for messaging.
GMail as vanilla
Inbox as a GTD-flavored that is having its most used features is being folded back into GMail.
At some point in the last year, I wanted to jump into the "new chat ecosystem" and so I uninstalled hangouts to break bad habits. The entire phone becomes unable to connect to any network.
I love hangouts, and I wish RCS could just roll into it; but how did project fi end up so integrated?
No, it doesn't. In the beginning they strongly suggested that you use Hangouts for SMS on Fi, but they don't require it. I just use Messages on Fi.
Unfortunately, some of the smartest people i know now also looks down on google. This one kid that was an intern for me at MIT (whom i think was way smarter than i am) didn't even bother interviewing with google, he went to spacex.
You mention Jobs. Was he smarter than Woz or a better engineer? No, but he was a much better leader. He inspired people to work, and relentlessly drove his vision. Obviously he didn't always make the right call, but I think we can say with confidence he would not have let this messaging mess drag on for close to 10 years now.
I think there's a lack of connection between Fi and google's other chat products (or even just hangouts and fi) in terms of roadmaps and so on. Fi graduated, now hangouts going away seems a bit... reverse.
Thinking that Messages, which uses SMS and RCS were available, would have any impact on messaging is wishful thinking at best. Where I live almost nobody uses SMS for person to person conversations, it's mainly used for package notifications, 2FA codes, and so on. RCS isn't available as far as I know, and I wouldn't want to use a mobile only protocol controlled by the carriers anyway. It's strange that Google, a company that seems to have a phobia of native apps and wants everything done in the browser, would push for this kind of solution.
If Google had used some of their highly payed top tier engineers and at least one competent product manager to develop Hangouts instead of pushing out the mobile only, seemingly India focused, Allo they might have had a chance. Imagine being the person in a family or group of friends that convinced people to switch to Allo, you would look like a fool by now.
I am still after a lovely opensource cross-platform simple distributed secure messaging and video platform.
I'd read that Allo was being abandoned for Messages. And I'd never heard of Duo until this post. Very confused naming and products at Google. I was trying to get my head around the differences between Play Music and Youtube Music yesterday - a case in point.
Isn't that recursive thinking? No one uses SMS because it's primitive and limited compared to regular messengers.
> I wouldn't want to use a mobile only protocol
I'm curious, but could RCS be interchangeably used both through provider and through a host such as Google? Could Google not host their own RCS backend?
You also have to take into account that SMS is 5-10 times more expensive almost everywhere outside the US. Unless you have a flat-rate plan, a single 140 character messages is about 10 cents where I live. And even if you have a flat-rate plan for domestic messages, it's 1-2 USD (per message!) when sent to friends and family abroad. I don't use SMS because it's just being ridiculously over-priced. I want my device to use data to send data, regardless of what kind it is.
It's (sms/texting) free (http://mobile.free.fr/) and unlimited on a 2 euros monthly phone subscription with 2 hours of voice communication in France. That makes it the cheapest way to communicate at all, here. Cheaper than voice and much cheaper than internet data. Even the absolute poorest of the country can use texting. It's more accessible than DATA driven apps and can run on dumb phones.
People use Whatsapp primarily, or facebook messenger, or (in my bubble anyway, not so widespread) Telegram. These products have the network effect already established, and no one is likely to go back to crappy SMS, even if it is dressed up.
No, noone uses it because it doesn't use data. I walk into a supermarket and lose signal so I can't SMS anymore. I can use the wifi to send messages even without signal.
Yes, I know there are SMS over Wifi apps, but they're proprietary and usually require signal to enable.
Is it just me or does Google basically throw a bunch of money at a bunch of things to see what sticks, scrap the failures and repeat the process over and over again - and in the process messing with services some people actually like.
I can no longer put trust in Google's consumer product reliability knowing that at any point Google will shut the service down because it does not meet some internal quota on usage.
Mild tweaks are great because they spare Leadership the pain of making hard decisions.
> And by refocusing on Messages and Duo for consumers and Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet for team collaboration
"Instead of working on five products, we're 'refocusing' down to four products." Right.
This has the stench of a post-faction justification that expertly avoids stepping on too many toes. IME Leadership gets axed by Senior Leadership not too long after.
I use Signal, but it's fine at best, but it's not really going to break out of it's niche.
Desktop/mobile clients. No need for phone to login.
Oh, and server code written in Haskell :)
Why would anyone invest in a Google messaging system when Google is prone to kill it off randomly?
This is definitely where I'm at. I presume this is all about internal warring fiefdoms, because from the outside it makes no sense.
Google Duo has succeeded as an app known for making video calls, which is as much a marketing/positioning achievement as it is a technical one.
There are lots of people declaring they will use a Google product in this thread, but of course no one is going to use a nonexistent product that people imagine as a clone of what already exists. Unless Google finds an "in", they're not going to get anywhere, even with whatever perfect app HN imagines.
It's kind of like how Apple will combine security updates with stuff like new emojis: to increase the incentive for the general populus to update.
I sometimes compare Signal to iMessage, except it's cross-platform and private.
Answer: Go to Gmail and send an email to the other party "can you Skype now?".
Literally. I had to schedule a video call recently by email. There is simply no formulation to schedule a video call using the name of one of google's products.
"Can you Hangout tomorrow?",
"Can you Duo tomorrow",
"Can you chat with Allo tomorrow?".
Nothing would work without confusing the other party with some probability. "Can you Skype tomorrow" always works, with everyone, no confusion.
personally, i just go with "can we talk tomorrow" instead of "can we skype tomorrow", and leave the choice of app for a follow up. I don't think being able to use the product name as a verb is an essential feature of a videoconference app.
Despite the rebrand, it works remarkably well. Much better than Skype.
Communicating with the people in our lives is one of the most important things we do every day, whether it’s chatting with friends about an upcoming trip, calling mom to check in, or touching base with colleagues.
So when I'm forced to move off hangouts for those connections that I still user over it - what do you think the chances are that I will choose a google product?
Skype was almost a genericized trademark meaning video call, that seems to have been taken over by Facetime to some extent. If Microsoft would make it easy to chat with friends and businesses from the same app, and threw some fresh paint on it, they might take some of the market back.
There’s something hilariously tragic about this being the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to deliver Google a coup-de-grace on messaging, and they can’t do it because they’re just as incompetent.
It is the universal Skype written in React (works natively on windows and electroned on other Desktop OSes)
> Use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome to access Skype for Web (Preview) experience.
> Alternatively, download Skype on your desktop computer.
That is on up to date Firefox on Debian unstable. Bravo.
Use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome to access Skype for Web (Preview) experience.
Alternatively, download Skype on your desktop computer.
We ended up using appear.in without a glitch.
You mean, Speech-To-Text that gets forwarded to the NSA, otherwise used by Microsoft for who-knows-what while the transition to an ad company with Win10 ?
Sounds great, but I don't think that's going to be a good alternative for the people who are looking to dump Facebook/WhatsApp/Google over privacy concerns.
Useful for people that are deaf and hard of hearing....
One app for consumers with video and messaging. Make it good, marry it, and shoot the others into the sun.
Now Google have dug a deeper hole as there is little change any tech influencer is going to use or promote Google messaging apps to their circle.
Personally I'm available on Signal, Skype and WhatsApp and it's going to take a hell of a change to make me care about trying something else.
What's more frustrating is that Google had Google Talk. It was super successful and really well liked. Rather than maintain and improve it, they threw it away.
In Europe, everyone has WhatsApp. For a while, this was great! One app, one "to reply" list. A taste of what messaging could be.
I quickly found myself frustrated. WhatsApp relies on phone numbers, which muddies up my contacts with people who keep old numbers for WhatsApp but do SMS and calls on another. Then there was the time I switched my WhatsApp number and couldn't receive messages from anyone until I sent them a message first-- inadvertently pissing off a few friends of mine before I realized.
And now, being back in the States, Europeans are trying to call the number listed on WhatsApp, and getting voicemail, and I have to change my email signature to encourage them not to.
And my American colleages are sending me SMS and calling, but using my old number from last year. Verizon won't let me keep a SIM for more than a few months, so I have to pay the activation fee every year, and I can't use a different provider because I bought a Verizon branded phone (NEVER AGAIN) and I want LTE and Hotspots to work.
And my mom is used to iMessage, so she sends me horribly compressed photos via SMS, no matter how often I tell her to send elsewhere. Who knows how many she tried to send to my old number...
On top of all of this, I have active group chats going in WhatsApp, SMS, Slack, Discord and Facebook messenger on any given day. I always forget who said what, where. Digging up old addresses and contacts that people sent me is a nightmare.
I often think about sending a mass message telling everyone to switch to ONE_PERFECT_MESSAGING_APP. I thought that might be Allo (or is it Duo? Which one is chat?). Imagine my anger if I had actually tried that! Thankfully my euro tech skeptics talked me out of it-- "I will never switch to a Google app!", they said.
What can I do? I feel hopeless, trapped between tech Giants making economic decisions that hurt me, instead of working together to make our lives easier (like they claim at the beginning of this PR piece)
EDIT: I don't like whining, I like solving problems-- so I created a therapy group called OOMA - Only One Messaging App - and we are going to solve this humanitarian problem. Our discord is here https://discord.gg/CmdgUp
I think that iMessage network effect is a big reason for the steady market share growth of iPhone in the US- none of the competitive apps have cross-generational appeal, just iMessage.
As you can tell by the length of my last post, thinking about this situation has got me upset.
So upset, that right now I've decided to launch a non-profit, open collective organization called OOMA. Only One Messaging App.
OOMA will be comprised of the millions of people who are annoyed and upset at the result of tech companies competing for our communication. We are taking things into our own hands. We are agreeing to switch to ONE service, for ALL of our messaging needs. All of us, all over the world, all at once.
We are going to do 5 things, in order:
1. Choose a switch date.
2. Define a spec for the "perfect messaging app" (encryption, licensing, finance model, features, tech, etc.)
3. Invite companies to pitch their app, and/or secure funding to develop our own to spec.
4. Spread the word.
5. Make the switch.
I'm going to prepare a marketing web page and (ironically) a discord server right now. At the very worst it's a fun side project and way to express my anger.
EDIT: OOMA server is live. If you think an app is not the solution, come tell us why: https://discord.gg/CmdgUp
What's the old phrase? If it looks stupid but it works, its not stupid. Say hello to the world's most valuable public company and what is commonly regarded as the world's highest quality messaging network.
A truth technologists hate hearing: You cannot, under any circumstances, solve problems created by code by creating more code.
For real though, has any sort of movement or organization tried to alleviate these problems without financial motivation?
I'm actually contemplating ICQ, it's still around and looks no worse than any other service. Matrix might be a better solution though, it's federated and open. https://matrix.org/blog/home/
ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger, PawWaw, Yahoo Messenger, Odigo, (and 30 more names I can't remeber) - there was a huge instant messaging war, the first stage of which was decidedly won by AOL (with AIM and the purchase of ICQ), but Microsoft later made great headway through sheer monopoly force and persistence - but that eventually became irrelevant with SMS taking over as the main form of instant messaging and then WhatsApp taking the world by storm.
None of this was open source. Not a single one of the successful messengers. In fact, AOL fought alternative clients fiercely all the time, and Microsoft started fighting them as soon as they got non-trivial market share.
What about XMPP (Which started life as Jabber before being standardized?)? Well, that one is open source. But it only survived and flourished because all the commercial outfits were busy fighting each other.
I was tangentially involved with the failed instant messaging standardization process at the turn of the millennium, and Jabber was by far the worst technical proposal at the time -- but the process was political, and when the committee disbanded due to all the political infighting, Jabber, which didn't have the commercial interests, was the remaining option.
1) Port your US number to Google Voice for a one time fee of $25 ; from now on, you can use this number to forward to your new verizon number (also: T-Mobile had much better plans for only a few months at a time, every single time I checked).
2) Get service in Europe from an Illiad affiliated phone company; At least in the past, that included free US numbers you could forward your US google voice to freely -- as well as 15-45 days of free US roaming service. Maybe these offers are gone now - you could just pay $1/month or so to LocalPhone or a similar company to do that forwarding for you.
3) Buy the cheapest Android handset running a recent version (for security updates); I got a new Meizu m6 for ~$90, you could probably go lower for 1st hand or get a 2nd hand at $40 or so.
4) When travelling, switch SIMs between main phone and cheap phone, set up forwarding (directly if included in plan, or through LocalPhone or similar if not), and keep cheap phone on WiFi only, plugged in charging at home, and mostly accessible for when needed.
5) Use WhatsApp web on the new phone to continue using old WhatsApp number. Less than ideal - messages don't pop up - but it works well.
For about $100 one time, and about $1/month or so, you could to keep both numbers fully functional and working indefinitely.
 Ok, so you'll have to upgrade the cheap phone for security reasons every few years. So not exactly one time, but possible $20/year amortized, or free if you don't trade-in your old main phone and just let it rot like many people do.
It’s almost like the iPhone is a fetish or totem that grants access to iMessage (although you can message from macos or iCloud.com impractically).
It’s quite strange how this is a very simple, solved, problem for iPhone for many years. Google can fix it by literally cloning iMessage and arguing with carriers. They don’t. I suspect it’s because they want to be the only one with access to the cleartext and they aren’t willing to make a consumer-focused decision to keep all messages ciphertext.
So “most of the planet” has to suffer Google’s anti-consumer decision.
It’s like buying a diesel vehicle and then complaining that the hybrid systems suck for them. Don’t buy a diesel if you want hybrid engines. Or work with the manufacturer to change their incentive model.
But google is an ad company and is unlikely to make products where it is hard to sell ads.
The only way forward is either Matrix or something like it. And even then you need enough momentum to bend all the walled gardens of Google / MS / FB / etc to have to play ball with a common federated protocol. Good luck getting that without the ludicrous budgets the market leaders have to throw at trying to force everyone into their own proprietary chat bubble.
We almost had that in the mid 2000s and the Google jumped ship first to Hangouts. They basically started this whole mess by going from a time where MSN Messenger, Facebook Messenger, and Google Talk were all speaking the same XMPP language. Since then all three have gone total proprietary with design decisions around locking people in than providing a useful product.
Some things are fine to have proprietary giants trying to fight for your eyeballs over, such as entertainment. But communication should be something we can agree on, as a society. This is the kind of thing we should have international interoperable standards on. Email was a lucky break that SMTP and IMAP ended up being mandatory, because even today Google is trying their damn hardest to implement Gmail in anything other but an interoperable way but know it would destroy their product to ever turn the compatibility off.
1. A centralized and proprietary system, but with a transparent and non-profit governance structure. I understand the costs and technical challenges of global communication are bigger than say, wikipedia... but is it impossible?
2. The power of collective action. Communications apps don't put users first because we have no bargaining power. What would they do for us if we threatened to leave, en-mass (or vice versa, if enough people offered to collectively adopt their solution?).
And honestly, the problem might be better approached as a personal, social one: I don't care what the world uses, how do I get my social and professional circle to adopt one single solution?
This is more what I have in mind with "Only One Messaging App". We've grown 800% in the last quarter, so keep an eye out for us :P
Doesn’t work with some sms gateways that don’t y’all GV, but the best international I know.
Each country gets a new sim with a local number for data and local texts but I never give it out.
I think GV is limited to US numbers and you have to have a US number to sign up.
It places a burden on my contacts who want to send an sms because they have to use international rates. But it’s better than not being able to text me.
However, installing the Hangouts client will let you use it as a better GV app for every day use (messages/voice, for settings and stuff you still need the GV app or the GV website).
At least until Hangout dies ...