This is an opinion piece, as you can probably tell from the title. A few months ago we brought you a preview of Hangouts 4.0 courtesy of Droid Life. It looked pretty damn sweet. Google actually pushed out a similar update to iOS well before they ever launched the update for Android. I used the new version of my iPhone and thought it was incredibly smooth, I couldn’t wait to get this same level of buttery smooth messaging on my Android phones! Yesterday I was incredibly excited when Google finally released the Hangouts 4.0 APK for Android. I couldn’t wait for the update to push to my devices so I quickly grabbed the APK and installed it on my HTC One M9. That’s when things went wrong.
After loading up Hangouts 4.0 I expected to be greeted with super quick load times for my conversations. I also expected the lag when switching between conversations to be gone. It wasn’t. I figured there must be something wrong with my M9, even though it is one of the smoothest devices I own. I tried loading the APK on my S6, same issue. Loaded it on my LG G4 same problem. Fired up the Nexus 6 and loaded Hangouts 4.0, nothing changed. How could it be that Google worked so long and the app was still slow? I’m pretty disappointed, as you can tell.
I’ve used Hangouts as my main messaging app for as long as I’ve had the opportunity, despite the consistent lag and slowness. In addition to the slowness, you still cannot access the slide-out actions menu anywhere in the app, why? These issues are simple to fix, but they remain problems in another iteration of Hangouts. Of course, not everything in 4.0 is bad. We did get a more polished material design interface, outbound caller ID, and voice actions in Android Wear. Google also improved group messaging for Voice users and gave us a simpler conversation view. These things are all great, but speed and overall usability is of primary concern in any messaging app. I love Google and Google Services for the most part, but the fact that Hangouts 4.0 is faster on my iPhone 6+ than my Nexus 6 doesn’t sit well with me. It shouldn’t sit well with Google either.
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