Years ago, I used Google Talk with almost everyone I talked to. Nowadays, I talk with almost no one on Hangouts. Google Talk has changed from “so good I can recommend to everyone” to a nightmare called Hangouts. So how did we get to this point?

You don’t know how the fuck to reliably have a conversation with someone. On the new Hangouts, you really have no idea when, where, and whom it delivers your messages to. If it does, you have no idea how.

Lately, you meet a couple of lost Linux buddies and they complain to you that you didn’t return their messages. You say you never received the messages, and shrug. You never have an idea why didn’t a message go through, maybe because they used the client that is not officially supported? But your buddies silently think that you’re a lying son of a bitch.

How did Google mess this up so badly!? I recall being able to live inside my GMail tab for almost all digital communication less than a decade ago, to the point that I wouldn’t bother to open other sites such as Facebook unless I received an email notification from them. Those casual chats with friends lasted for hours sometimes, I feel nostalgic whenever I get reminded of them. And now it’s just really hard to have a reliable real time conversation with people on the Internet other than in closed boxes like Slack. Are we heading in the right direction?

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