Good reliable app I have started to get to know hangouts more because FB have reneged on their agreement on whatsapp and the mobile FB messenger API has been deliberately sabotaged to stop other apps using it. I am pleased to find hangouts provides a very complete, reliable, straight forward messaging service that is not a bloated phone killer. What's great about it is that it's the default android app and nearly everyone with a gmail account is reachable.
Its nice and clean, love the gif integration, but it needs color customization or themes. Additionally, sms messages should sync across all devices similar to mightytext or imessage. Make it happen Google. Edit: prior comment was 11/2013 and there has been nothing significantly done to improve this app, Google misses the boat with SMS/MMS integration and loses market share to Apple because of iMessage. Looks like hangouts really isn't a platform priority.
UI & Customization Dark Theme. Options to change contact photos to initials and hide the timestamps. Please bring back the gesture that takes you back to the conversation list by swiping from the left edge. "Write a message" area is too cluttered, make it simplistic with a + sign. Replace visible phone number with the name of the contact in "Send SMS to..."
Works, but no support for major issues from Google For almost everything it does the job. Like the material redesign. I had a problem for a year (2013-14). I eventually managed to fix it myself (revert to original and reinstall), but never heard once from Google, despite sending huge amounts of feedback from: crashes, failed texts, failed receiving of texts... the list goes on! Hate the removal of merged conversations.
Google is disconnected from users While hangouts can be used for SMS and hangouts messages Google removed the setting to merge these conversations. This now means I have a duplicate conversation for those people who I may start talking to in hangouts and then want to continue my conversation with them over text or vise versa. Even with Verizon I don't have data coverage everywhere I go so I can't count on hangouts to work all the time unless I have separate conversations for each person. Score one for Apple and iPhone.
A joke, an absolute nightmare. Instead of adding features to Hangouts, it seems more and more features are being taken away. First they remove the widget for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Literally no excuse for it. Just one day it's gone. And for the record, Messenger still has a widget. Now, they have removed the option to merge conversations. Absolutely stupid. It's as if the "Hangouts team" goes into work everyday saying "what feature can we remove today?"
• Bug fixes and performance improvements