Google Hangouts: A Eulogy

This year Google will stop supporting and remove Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts, if you're not aware, was Google's replacement for their chat program Google Talk. Google Talk was a XMPP-based chat client that was available for all users of Google services. Google Hangouts was rolled out around the same time as Google+, and was a wrapper for many different Google services (phone, video chats, and Hangouts on Air). What was nice about it was that anyone that you knew the GMail address of had access to Google Hangouts. This meant that many of my friends had Hangouts access. JoDee and I used Hangouts for much of our IM communication. Unfortunately for whatever reason Google decided to remove yet another of the things that I liked about Google services, and proves once again that Google can't be trusted with any social platform.

Today I downloaded the "Google Takeout" of Hangouts and removed all of the old chats. There were a lot of nice memories in there, and now they can live in a collection of photos and one long JSON dump file that I'll probably never read again.

If you want to find me I'm on Signal and Quicksy (an XMPP-based service using phone numbers and OMEMO for encryption). If you have my phone number you can use these services to get a hold of me. I'm still on IRC and have accounts on other platforms. But what seems a constant is that communication will be fractured over multiple platforms and the dream of having one application doing everything well dies on July, 2021. And the irritation of having yet-another-platform to talk to that one person is the reality we'll all have to deal with until something better comes along. Nothing is perfect and everything is terrible.

RIP Hangouts. You helped me not have to think about messaging.