Major Google Hangouts bug lets emoji spammers lock up the app; Google already on the case


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An unfortunate bug seems to have surfaced in the latest Hangouts app for Android. Reddit user Recon0212 initially reported the bug, which could be experience-breaking for many people. So what’s going on? Well, if you are in a Hangout with many people — 12 for Recon — you could potentially lock up the participants’ app by spamming them with emojis. This means you’d be unable to enter the app and do anything. Pretty scary, right?

Thankfully, Google has been made aware of the bug. Googler Dan Morril chimed in on the Reddit thread and confirmed that he was able to reproduce the bug in the presence of a product manager. He notes “top men” are already notified and are looking into it.

What can you do in the meantime? The most convenient thing to do is to open Hangouts on a PC and remove yourself from the problematic group chat. It’s not ideal, but would you even still want to be in a group chat with people who spam emojis all day?

Oh, and since this means your SMS messages would be inaccessible, you’ll probably want to install a third-party SMS app to make sure you don’t miss anything important while you get yourself out of the sticky situation.

It might not be a bad idea to get a backup SMS app even if you haven’t been unfortunate enough to be affected by this bug — you never know when someone in your chat might be feeling a bit overzealous. We’ll be on the lookout for the update in the days or weeks to come.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Well it is less likely I’ll be on hangouts with 12 people at the same time. Thankfully google is always fixing this bugs as soon as possible.

  2. Hi Hangout experts,

    As Hangout can send SMS messages now, and it can run on WiFi. Is it possible to use it on a tablet (which in my case, doesn’t have a phone number) and send an SMS text messsage to a contact’s phone?

    EDIT: I could not test because I am about to buy a Nexus 7 tablet soon. Just curious to know if this feature would work or not.

    Whether this would work or not, I would appreciate if you can give some technical background explanation. Thanks in advance.

    1. I ‘think’ the SMS still works off the network. Your best option is Google Voice for text only. If not you can download one of those texting apps but I honestly feel like those steal your contact list and spam them.

  3. @PuzzledObserver:disqus – Nah you can’t use SMS within Hanguts on the tablet. I tried already and the SMS settings aren’t even available. Note that what you’re describing IS possible on a phone running CM10.1/CM10.2 though using Google Voice in conjunction with Voice+. Still can’t do MMS or emojis using Google Voice tho…..

    1. Cool thx for the info.

  4. Just got an update that fixed this.

  5. Still no SMS update for my S3 but my old phone on gingerbread got it.

  6. Lol, this reminds me of apple devices and the Arabic text :P

  7. I wish I had 12 people to Hangout with… :'(

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