Matthew Leske:

Next year, Chat will become available as a free service — both in the integrated experience in Gmail and the Chat standalone app. Chat includes familiar Hangouts features like direct and group messaging, with helpful additions like send to inbox, faster search, emoji reactions and suggested replies. With Chat, you can more easily plan with others on goals and similar interests, share and collaborate on files, and assign tasks to help keep everyone on the same page.

I mean… what? I am a user of all these products and I am so confused. I’ve read this post five times and I’m still so confused. I think they’re effectively ending the Hangouts brand in favor of Chat. And that includes tying Chat into Gmail. But also a separate Chat app. As for “Hangouts Chat”, which was a thing, I have no idea. I think that’s gone in favor of Hangouts which is now gone in favor of Chat. Again, I think.

Rooms is different. It’s group chat. I think. But it’s a part of Chat, I think. It’s also a part of Gmail which includes Chat, I think. Meet is like Chat for Enterprise with a focus on Rooms, I think. But I actually may be wrong there.

You used to be able to use Hangouts with Google Fi and Google Voice, but soon you won’t be able to. But not right away. In phases. Instead, you’ll want the Voice app or the Messages app. Messages is not Chat, by the way. Nor is it Meet. Nor is it what used to be Hangouts. Nor Hangouts Chat. Nor Allo, which I think also no longer exists. Nor Duo, which I believe does still exist. But is not Meet.

So I think Hangouts is going away, even though it started life as a super simple mulit-user video chat product. That sounds like a certain $150B public company, but wasn’t for some reason. Maybe that reason is because then it became a chat app. And now it’s going away as a chat app.

Yet it was never as simple as Google Talk — also at times known as “Gchat” — even though it probably should have been. Google Talk was not Google Voice, by the way. Google Chat seems like it could be simpler, but it’s being shoved into other apps too. And there are now so many apps that all seemingly do the same thing that you’ll have no idea which to open to do what. Did I mention you can chat in Meet too? But it’s not Google Chat.

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1 to 2. Much more straightforward, you see.

Written by

General Partner @ GV (née Google Ventures). In past lives I wrote at TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and ParisLemon. A man of few words. Except when writing. 🍻

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