Google Hangouts has been pre-installed over 1 billion times


Google Hangouts icon

When an application crosses a billion installs on the Google Play Store, it always sounds like a big deal. It’s an illustrious club that few belong to. Apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and more recently, Facebook Messenger, have all joined the 1 billion downloads club and that’s saying something. Most of those apps had to be physically downloaded (not all the time, but mostly) by Android users before they could hit that milestone.

Then there are a handful of Google apps that are also apart of this club. Apps like Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Search. You know, the apps that stand in the back of the room with their embroidered blazers, smoking their pipes, telling stories about how they easily joined up because of their family name. These are the apps that already come pre-installed on your Android device before you even take it out of the box. It should come as little surprise to anyone that another app from Google’s software suite is joining that list, with Google Hangouts now crossing the 1 billion downloads mark.

If nothing else, this milestone — which, by the way, means nothing — points a spotlight directly on an app that is in bad need of an overhaul. With more than a billion “installs,” we think it’s time Google finally gives Hangouts a little TLC. Giving the app a new coat of paint with Material design and bringing it up to speed with its iOS counterpart (which has the ability to send video clips) would be a nice start. Can you think of anything else you’d like to see in a Hangouts refresh?

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I’d like to see Hangouts become a direct competitor to iMessage. It’s half way there with Smart Reply, gif support, VoIP, video-calling, and the addition of GV. Now it just needs audio message support and proper group message support for all forms of messaging it allows and to function consistently so more people will stick with it. Oh and true material design in the app would help too.

    1. Totally agree here. I would also like to see the ability to send multiple pictures in one message though I can easily do this via a Google Photo’s link but it would be nice to have the option to have the pictures show up in the chat without needing to select the link

      1. I totally forgot about that issue. It can be a real pain at times.

    2. I’ll agree with group message support being better, but disagree with the audio message part. Really, I think that’s gimmicky to most people on the ios platform, as most people either facetime or send a message. Funny enough they even call first before audio messages. I think that most people feel it’s mostly useless, unless they want to show off to a non-ios user. I haven’t noticed many people actually using that portion of imessage, despite my own expectations that many would use it. That usually is the trend when people get a new feature on ios, is that they use it to death from the start.

    3. That’s what Hangouts should have been and could have been. Instead because of a stupifying lack of marketing and taking advantage of the popularity of Android over several years it’s just this relatively obscure app/service compared to iMessage.

      1. Here’s to hoping the rumoured MD update helps bring users and hopefully they’ll market it more.

      2. More people I know use whatsapp

        1. Similar app, but not as encompassing. Hangouts allows chat, cellular SMS/MMS, cellular calls, or VOIP calls/text/image sharing.

  2. Don’t use Hangouts or Google+ anymore. Google comes out with some great ideas but fails to develop them to their full potential. It would be great if they did make Hangouts a useful one for everything app. The mms thing though, really!?

    1. Which “thing” are you complaining about now?

      I have no issues with Hangouts…

      1. I think he might be talking about how you can only send one pic at a time. I’ve also heard of users having issues with sending a MMS all together.

  3. I stopped using hangouts because whenever I sent a photo the receiver received a blank black picture.

  4. 1 Billion installs and yet Hangouts still can’t reliably sound a notification when SMS arrives. I have such a love/hate relationship with this app.

  5. I’d like to be able to send a message to multiple recipient without making it the default messaging app. I like to keep my GV messages separate from my regular number messages.

  6. A rebranding. Hangouts sounds like an app for a child. It’s my most used app, but it by no means sounds professional and it will never gain a real professional user without a rebranding because no one is going to say, “Let’s all get together on Hangouts to talk business.”

    Also all Google Voice settings need to be moved over from the GV app to Hangouts.

    And smart switch. Forward my GV calls to carrier when on data, ring Hangouts when on WiFi.

    1. Yeah, and WhatsApp sounds so professional…

      1. What’s App isn’t targeted to be used in that way while Hangouts is. Whats App is targeted and advetized as a fun communication app not a professional one. Google markets Hangouts to everyone including business, even had business specific Chrome OS conference Units,

        1. Actually, Voice is Hangouts’ biggest feature, and Google forbids commercial use of Voice without authorization. Its totally a consumer facing app.
          Hangouts is also an SMS/MMS client. But the lack of contacts management, integration with default Contacts apps, and inability to collect social data like FB contact images really sucks.

  7. This poorly implemented app is every bit as much bloat as anything found in Touchwiz.

  8. Replying from the NotiBar would be nice. If that option were there, I’d move back to Hangouts.

  9. Not really a achievement since it’s pre-installed on phones and you can’t even remove it. The only reason why I use it is that I barely use sms anymore and don’t feel the need to install a extra sms app for the few times that I need it

    1. Don’t you have an app that’s just called messaging?

      1. I got hangouts, whatsapp and Facebook messenger that’s it. I use hangout cause it’s the standard sms app on Nexus phones, facebook messenger to keep contact with someone that I met online and whatsapp for the rest

  10. Hangouts is becoming to the new Google Voice… desperately needs improvement. Hopefully a material UI overhaul comes soon.

    1. Voice may need new UI, but outside of picture mail, its very functional.

  11. Hangouts has been pre-installed more than billion times and has been regularly used by about 50 million people (not a very big fraction of total devices at all). Doesn’t sound too bad but considering that there are more than a billion Android devices out there it really sucks.

    Why, oh, why couldn’t Google have marketed things like Android itself, Hangouts, Google Now etc. starting years ago to get serious mindshare (which is also pretty important in addition to market share).

  12. myself & mrs use it for IM and SMS, notifications only work 75% of the time, we can go in to the app (not from a notification so you don’t go straight to a message) and nearly always is an unread sms or IM from someone we’ve not been told about, looks like a common problem on their Google Groups, and has been for some time, not limited to mobile, I have Chrome Extensions too that don’t notify me of the same messages.

  13. I want it to stop crashing on my device when I’ve already disabled/uninstalled. Bad move Google.

  14. They should allow it to be uninstalled.

  15. Not sure why so many people have such a problem with this app…it’s been my go to SMS app for over a year on both my old phone and my current one…I don’t get crashes, don’t have missed messages, syncs well with MightyText, and WiFi calling is a perk…SGS III and LG G3…

    1. Hangouts is really cool and I like the concept — I just like the simplicity of a text-only app like Google’s Messenger or third-party apps like Textra. I’d love to do Hangouts with my friends and fam that use Android but I guess my peops are antisocial because they’d never use it ::hehe:: In fact, I think companies these days reeeaally overshoot when it comes to the sheer number of people who will use these “social” features they bake into apps. I know some people use them but I never see many people if any at all using social features of things. Outside of work or specific situations, perhaps, but I just don’t see it a lot in the wild.

      1. But it puts everything (SMS and hangouts) into one app…that’s not convenient?

  16. Well since hangouts is technically, but not really, joined with Google Voice, it would be nice if it had some of the basic functionalities of Voice… like searching for old conversations, or starting a text message with someone I haven’t texted in a while. I have to begin typing their name in the phone dialer and then hit “text” (of course once hangouts has been selected as my default sms app). The ONLY reason I use hangouts is because its the only way to send and receive picture mail with my Google Voice number.

    1. What version of Hangouts are you on? You can either click on the icon for contacts on the left or if you are on the list of conversations, click on the little “+” in the upper right corner. Doing either brings you to your list of contacts, and clicking on one starts a hangout/text message.

  17. 1 Billion installs and not one searched text message ever! Why, because Hangouts doesn’t have the ability to search any messages!

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