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Google's messaging mess continues: Chat app now wants to be the next WhatsApp

OK, Google. Let's try this again.

Published onJuly 3, 2023

Hangouts move to Google Chat 2
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • Google has announced a slew of new features for its standalone Chat app.
  • The company now wants people to use the team collaboration tool to have conversations with family and friends.

Google’s messaging efforts have been highly confusing and scattered, to say the least. After killing Hangouts, Google positioned Chat as the new destination for workspace communication. Now, the company seems keen on making Google Chat a WhatsApp-like platform for messaging family and friends.

Mind you, “Google Chat” is not be confused with the “Chat messages” label that Google used for RCS within the Android Messages app. The former is a standalone app and web interface Google transitioned to after closing down Hangouts.

Nevertheless, the firm has announced a slew of new features for the Google Chat app. These include the ability to edit and delete messages, quote messages and check read receipts in group chats, hide inactive conversations, craft messages using Smart Compose, link to text, and more.

At first glance, most of these features might seem very basic — something multiple messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, and others have long implemented. However, what’s interesting here is that Google is eyeing the family and friends messaging game with yet another app, one that’s been positioned as a business collaboration tool until now. In fact, the Google Chat app is still labeled as a “team communication” platform across the web and app stores.

Do you use the Google Chat app for talking to friends and family members?

2178 votes

As with everything Google does in messaging, it’s unclear what the Google Chat app is trying to be. The company now wants you to use it for “organizing softball practices, brainstorming vacation spots with friends, and sharing a funny video with family members.” We doubt Google will be able to steer users to do all these things on Chat when they are already using more established alternatives.

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