Hangouts and SMS

This post will be meaningless to all of you on iOS. But for those of us on Android, read on.

At some point last fall I was prompted to and agreed to make the Hangouts app the default SMS app on my phone. That replaced the default Android SMS app which then also somehow disappeared from my phone, probably in some Android OS update.

From day one of using Hangouts as my default SMS app on Android, I have been unhappy. Hangouts is a slow and clunky mobile app. That’s the antithesis of what an SMS app should be. Its unclear how to do all sorts of things in Hangouts like find a contact and send a message. And I’m always finding myself being pushed to do a Hangout when all I want to do is send a text.

In general, mobile apps should not try to do multiple things. Less is more on mobile. Google made a big mistake trying to merge two fairly different and important features into a single app.

But the biggest problem is the load time on launch. It often takes a minute or more to launch the Hangouts app on my phone. Maybe there is something wrong with my phone (memory, storage?) but I know I am not the only one with this problem so I think the Hangouts app is a problem for many.

This morning I finally hit the tipping point. I was in a cab to LaGuardia and I saw that my daughter had sent me a text last night. I clicked on the notification and waited and waited and waited to see her message. In the midtown tunnel, I went to the play store, searched for SMS apps, picked Chomp, downloaded and installed it, and then made Chomp my default SMS app in settings.

I think its possible that I did all of that faster than Hangouts could show me my daughter’s text. But once Chomp was installed and set as default, I was shown her text instantly.

The Chomp experience is so much better than Hangouts that I quickly sent out an email to a few friends who are on Android and have told me about their frustration with Hangouts. And after flying to Boston and finding a comfortable coffee shop, I am now telling all of you.

If you are using Hangouts as your default SMS app and aren’t happy, take a few seconds to download a free alternative. Chomp is great but I am sure there are others that are also great. I promise you that you will be happier. I certainly am.