My colleague was understandably ticked off with me. A week previously, they’d asked me to get something fairly urgent done. I hadn’t done it – and all hell was breaking loose.
I wasn’t being truculent or disobedient. I simply hadn’t seen their message. And it was all Google’s fault.
At work, we use Google’s G-Suite. It’s a brilliant set of email and document tools. It also contains two incompatible messaging apps.
When I started using it – the chat product was “Hangouts”. At some point, Google released “Chat” – their latest product – and encouraged users to upgrade. So I did.
But Chat and Hangouts are built by two different team who – I can only assume – hate each other only slightly more than they hate their users.
If Alice is on Hangouts and sends a message to Bob on Chat – Bob receives the message.
Similarly, Bob on Chat can message Alice on Hangouts. Hurrah for interoperability!
But this lulls users into a false sense of security!
If Alice on Hangouts sends a message to Bob and Carol in a group, problems occur. Users on Chat won’t see group messages from Hangouts.
Similarly, Hangouts users won’t see group messages from Chat.
OK. So perhaps the answer is to use both Chat and Hangout simultaneously? Well, that’s a recipe for disaster because each app sends its own notification for the same message.
So you end up with multiple notifications for the same message across different apps.
Unbelievably, this is by design!
Group conversations in classic Hangouts or Chat can’t be viewed or replied to in the other service. Group messages are not compatible between the two services.
We recommend recreating any group conversations users want to continue in Chat.
Chat and classic Hangouts interoperability
I can’t understand the sheer contempt for your users which would lead to this situation.
Don’t worry – there is a solution! It’s easy. Just convince every single person in your organisation to switch! And then to change their app! And uninstall the old one! And then disable the
chat Hangouts from the browser! And learn an entirely new UI! And lose all of your old conversations! And lose the ability to chat with external users.
Google initially said they’d force everyone off Hangouts in 2019. They didn’t do that. They’ve now said All remaining classic Hangouts G Suite users will be moved to Chat in “late 2020”.
I smoothed things over with my colleague. We realised that we’d each missed messages from each other – and that cancelled out any ill-will.
We both agreed that Google is a bit shit and that in the future we’d send any important messages over Slack.