Google has now officially abandoned Gtalk (also referred to as Gchat), and the only available chat app from Google is Hangouts. Until now, there was no official shutdown for the service, but over the years, Google made sure that users would switch to Hangouts from Gtalk. In March, the search giant announced that it will be officially closing the chat app on June 26.
Hangouts: a better option than Gtalk
Google Talk (or Gtalk), which was launched in 2005, offered instant messaging services to Gmail users. After eight years, Hangouts entered the picture. From now on, users will not be able to download the Gtalk app from the Play Store. Those still using Gtalk will now automatically be transitioned to Hangouts.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced the cancellation of Google Talk earlier this year. A blog post from Google in March read that Hangouts is more advanced and offers better features, such as video calling and syncing with other Google Products.
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“With the introduction of Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, which add further improvements in meetings and team collaboration, it is now time to say goodbye to Google Talk,” the blog read.
Google has been pushing Hangouts for some time now, adding new features and updates regularly. However, many are upset with this change, saying that Hangouts’ aesthetics are very different from those of Gchat. Though users understand that the aesthetics difference is due to additional features, like GIFs and inline images, they argue that it takes away Google Talk’s simplicity. As a result, there is no doubt that Hangouts is much better than Gtalk, but with the constant flow of new features, it is getting better by the day.
However, if you are not happy with Hangouts, Google has a few more options that you can try for instant messaging, like Allo, Duo, Android Messages, and Voice.
Google is regularly adding new features to Hangouts
Google has of late shown a keen interest in the area of SMS texting, led by Android messages. Now with just Hangouts to focus on, the company will be in a better position to move forward. A hint of this was seen in March when the company stated that it would split Hangouts into two products: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. The former focuses on instant messaging, whereas the latter is more focused on video conferencing.
The search giant recently updated the Hangouts app with the support of Apple’s CallKit, enabling VOIP services to access the iPhone’s built-in-dialer and phone app to make and receive calls. Users can now make phone calls with the help of the iPhone’s built-in phone app or Siri voice commands. A user can also receive incoming calls from Hangouts using the stock iOS call UI.
Users can activate the CallKit support for Hangout from settings within the app and switch the toggle to “answer on Lock screen.” Both the UI and the functionality of a regular cellular call will be the same as in the iPhone.