Google Hangouts – Is It All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Most people would have heard of or are using Google Hangouts these days.

The recent news that Google voice could end up going in the same direction as Google Reader may or may not be news to some people. There have also been reports that Google Hangouts will soon have Google Voice incorporated into it as well.

Google’s VoIP Service

The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service includes phone calls, voice transcriptions, text messaging and voicemail. Since its launch back in 2009, Google’s free service has grown quickly with users in 2013 averaging on a daily basis of around 3.5 million.

Currently, Hangouts, which is web-based, enables users to receive and make calls via their phone number with Google. The problem that everyone is facing though, is that none of the functions of Voice has become part of Hangouts yet. A report has recently suggested that VoIP calls and the ability to make them could eventually become integrated into the mobile app Hangouts, but when this announcement will go public is another matter, entirely.

Social Networking Craze

Google became part of the social networking phenomenon when back in 2011 it launched its own take on the craze, unveiling Hangouts with a feature that would allow up to ten users the ability to be a part of group video conferencing. Along with the video-chat feature, Google+ and Google Talk were included putting them alongside other apps, including iMessage and Facebook Messenger who were their competition. Then back in May 2013, Hangouts substituted Google+ Messenger and Google Talk on not only mobile devices but also in the web.

Google’s Product Integration

When asked about the two products and their integration, Google declined to answer, as they believe that they have been open about the changes to their products. Although Google did not have anything to say on the matter, the manager of the Google+ product did make a point of hinting at the change that was made back in May 2013.

‘The future of Google Voice was the reason why Hangouts was designed, with receiving and making phone calls the beginning of better things to come’, which the Google+ product manager wrote on his Google+ page with him also commenting that ‘Hangouts and versions in the future will see Google Voice seamlessly integrated into it.

Once again, the report did not confirm as to whether Google would incorporate Voice’s features in Google Hangouts. However, the Hangouts service is something that many users may well not want to use, as in recent months, as it has been unstable.

Google’s Outage Creates Doubt

January 2014 saw Google suffer over a two-week course as they unfortunately had two outages that were major. The services affected were Google+, Documents, Gmail and Calendar. Although Google did report that some of their other services including Hangouts were down, they did confirm that later on and on the same day, the problems that users were facing had been resolved. Although, whether this will encourage people to use their services or not is something that will remain unknown for now but in the meantime, things are not looking as good as Google would have predicted.

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