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.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt A. Myers

    Is there a difference between an SMS app and something like WhatsApp?

    1. fredwilson

      Yes. A SMS app handles text messages that come over the carrier networks

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Ah, I see the value in offering that as a bridge mechanism.

  2. PhilipSugar

    This is one of the two biggest challenges/weaknesses that Google has. Building things, throwing them out there and seeing what sticks. As I have said before when you build something, get users, and then fail, you really hurt your customers. That is lost on the fail fast crowd.The second is not wanting to talk to customers, which is directly related to the point above.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. But at least Android is open and you can swap anything, including the launcher, with third party appsImagine if Apple shipped a default SMS app that sucked. You’d be stuck

      1. PhilipSugar

        Agreed but my parents never let me get away with the argument that it was ok because somebody was worse.

        1. fredwilson

          Brad Feld has a post on that that is almost ten years old…

          1. PhilipSugar

            I remember that one. Your link is broken. Years and years ago we had a Mr. Angry and he yelled “you guys suck, but the other guys blow” We sometimes use that phrase.

          2. fredwilson

            Yup. So great

          3. Matt A. Myers

            Sounds like a signal for disruption opportunity.

          4. JamesHRH

            LOL>That’s awesome. What a magical rallying cry.

        2. LE

          Agree with that. Being raised in the day of “doesn’t matter if Dave’s parents let him do it” as well.This is actually something though that plays well with the lemmings and normals for sure though. Notice that half the time people pushing marijuana reform say it isn’t any worse than alcohol.

      2. B12N

        I remember the pain of having no Google Maps for awhile after Apple replaced the default app on iOS with Apple Maps.

      3. Elia Freedman

        Very true but that may also be the reason Hangouts was acting so poorly.

      4. SubstrateUndertow

        But at least Android is openWhich definition of open ?Seems to me they are both different flavours(definitions) of closed !

        1. CJ

          They are Open but not without rules.

      5. JamesHRH

        But they never, ever would do that.Because they are not product oriented, they are UX oriented.

    2. Aaron Klein

      The weird thing is…Hangouts is a pretty decent product in all of my other experiences. It was the natural iteration of Google Talk, Google Voice and Google+ Video Hangouts.I’ve never heard of anything like Fred’s experience. It’s probably a testament to how much he uses Kik that it lasted so long. 😉

      1. ShanaC

        This is true. Though it does make me wonder when hangouts and voice will be merged

      2. Zack S

        Same. I never had any issues like that

      3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I agree. Hangout a works great for video chats and we have even started using it for some work conference calls. I haven’t tried SMS but kik and whatsapp do the job well

    3. Matt A. Myers

      You have to make sure the experience is good enough before you throw it out there. At least when you’re Google and you have the resources. Startups on the other hand should get a little more leniency.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      I imagine they talk to the customers who pay them? But maybe that’s not enough.I see the changes Google is making to their search pages as potentially dangerous.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Gotta give Google credit for messing with their cash cow. Most companies would be scared to touch it until it was too late.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          True – and they are expanding into other areas, outside of search – and they are bringing more value to Google Maps, etc. with their projects. I think their online presence could be better managed though – however until then I’ll see how I can take advantage of that. 😉

        2. ShanaC

          they’re not, totally.

    5. awaldstein

      Remember Google TV–case study on a tech company trying to launch a product for the living room without an understanding of how the market consumes.

    6. LE

      As I have said before when you build something, get users, and then fail, you really hurt your customers.The farther an executive is away from the customer the more able they are to make decisions that hurt the customer.Mr. Owner of deli feels the pain when something gets fucked up in his restaurant because he is right there on the floor and gets called over to the table and reamed out. (God that guy is miserable). They guy who works on your house renovation and makes some mistake either needs to fix it with his own time and money or you are right in his face or don’t pay his bill. He can’t hide behind a CSR and render a “fuck you” decision.Summary: They hurt the customer because they can. Same reason a dog licks his you know what.

    7. ShanaC

      They have too much brand equity. I hate to stay it, it is hardest for startups. There is only so much that startups can do to get to MVP, but often the bar is much higher from onsumers

    8. JamesHRH

      They should really rename the place Google Labs.

  3. Aaron Klein

    Hangouts was just Google’s version of iMessage, which made FaceTime one tap away. It’s a sound idea, even if Google overdoes the execution sometimes.The question is…why was your performance so horrid? My mom is on android and I showed her how to set up hangouts so we could use it together, and it’s snappy for her.Something was definitely up with your device.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Makes me wonder if there’s any benchmarking application, crowdsourcing everyone’s benchmarks to see how applications are performing on your device vs. others – being able to compare the same brand and model, OS version, etc..

      1. Aaron Klein

        That’s a good idea.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I have a few of those every once in awhile.

          1. Aaron Klein


          2. Matt A. Myers

            To further the idea, that data would actually probably be quite useful for manufacturers, perhaps even chip makers – maybe even track performance of different chip sets, etc. – assuming they know which devices they’re used in, etc.. There be some really neat insights that could come from it.

          3. Matt A. Myers

            It’s at least a $1,000,000 idea. Could probably easily make it $10,000,000 business with a little effort.

          4. Aaron Klein

            I’ll need to see 10MM DAUs and three enterprise accounts before I could give you a term sheet on that.

          5. Matt A. Myers

            Fuck that. I’m putting my efforts towards building a $100 B company. :)But someone else can put that effort in if they’re looking for something to work on.

          6. Aaron Klein


    2. JimHirshfield

      OK, but did you config your mom’s device to use Hangouts as the default SMS app?

      1. Aaron Klein


    3. Elia Freedman

      The potential downside of open. Easy to do things to screw up your system.

      1. Aaron Klein


  4. Jared Krouss

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been using hello sms and have been really happy with it so far. You can find it on Google Play here:…I like it more than Chomp FWIW.

  5. JimHirshfield

    Amtrak > Airline to BOS, no?

    1. fredwilson


      1. JimHirshfield

        What’s your door to door via airline?

        1. fredwilson

          Left the apt at 6am. Caught the 7am, landed at 7:45, was having a latte in Harvard Square at 8:15

          1. JimHirshfield

            That sounds a lot like pre-9/11 air travel. Smooth.If I’m traveling first thing in the a.m. from Fairfield County, it’s 45 mins to airport. So, I opt for train from Stamford to Boston. Might be a mistake. 😉

          2. fredwilson

            Well you are half way there up in the boondocks 🙂

          3. JimHirshfield

            Rub it in, why dontchya!?

          4. pointsnfigures

            Was thinking about this very thing today since my daughter is mired in airport hell. She was delayed a day going to Mardi Gras, and now is stuck. Got stuck in NOLA last night, and stuck in Houston today. United and American suck and blow. I am NOT a veteran traveler. I drive almost everywhere I go. But, I always thought the northeast would be the place to replicate the rail systems of Europe.

          5. JimHirshfield

            With all the unfortunate accidents on the Metro North commuter rail, there has been some management upheaval. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement. EU style rail system seems like wishful thinking.

          6. pointsnfigures

            In general, I am against high speed rail. Govt’s can’t afford it. Plane travel is quicker. But, in the east where populations are dense and distances shorter, it seems like it could work. Although, with all the damn snow we are getting this year, high speed rail out of Chicago to closer midwestern cities seems like it might be convenient (but I know the math doesn’t work out)

          7. JimHirshfield

            High speed? I’d settle for on-time and seating to accommodate America’s growing waistlines! (not mine, of course)

          8. sigmaalgebra

            > You must authenticate the user or provide author_name and author_emailAll with a red background.There seems to be a timingor threading problem or aconsistency problem betweenthe JS on the browser and theserver.

          9. JimHirshfield

            Where are you seeing this?

          10. sigmaalgebra

            Here on this thread at AVC, a few minutesbefore I posted a reply to you.AVC showed me logged in as sigmaalgebra,but any attempt I made to post gave me the message in a red box with the text I copied for you.Solution: Close the browser window with AVC, and in a new browser window connectto AVC again. Then I received an offer tologin. That is, I was logged off and not logged in as usual. So, maybe Disquswants me to log in once each month orso, and my month was up.So, while I was browsing at AVC, the Disqusserver and database concluded that I waslogged out but the JS in my browser session thought I was still logged in. So,when I tried to post, what I got back fromthe Disqus server was the red box with the message.So, closing the browser window got JSto forget I was logged in. Then in thenew browser window, the HTML/JS orwhatever of the window the Disqusserver sent my browser (as an HTTP GET)showed me not logged in. So, I logged in,and everything was back to normal.I’m just guessing. Right?Solution? Check the monthly user timeout in the Disqus server only when sendingthe first page in a new session but notat each post by that user in that session.For a ‘session’ identifier, send the usera GUID value in an HTML ‘hidden’ field.The on the HTTP postback, get the sessionID GUID and, thus, know the session. Buta user with one browser has only oneDisqus cookie which, thus, has to servefor all Disqus browser sessions. So, in addition to a cookie, use a session ID.Then a Disqus user with five browser sessions open at Disqus sites, all at AVCor not, will be seen at the Disqus serveras five different sessions. Even thenmy logic for handling the monthly time outsshould still work. Right?Gee, I thought that everyone designingWeb sites thought about all of this stuffall the time!

          11. LE

            United and American suck and blowUnited et al don’t suck and blow the “collective people’s” suck and blow.The public (en masse) won’t pay for quality they go for the lowest price. And then when someone tries to make a buck they whine about what they think is enough profit to do something they have no clue about. Or some consultant or writer talks about how this or that company is able to rise above the fray so it can be done. Well you know Southwest and all of that. They’re just dandy.All those cancellations? Exacerbated by government rules about pilot rest and amount of time sitting on the tarmack in the airplane because of weather delays.Given the amount they can charge, their competition, their labor costs [1] the airline business is as near an unsolvable equation (at the current level of competition) that there is. Travel was much nicer when there was regulation and I guess what you could call price fixing.[1] If they made more money and were more profitable they could hire “better” people as well. Maybe even some of those designing the next “shitty little photo app”.

          12. sigmaalgebra

            The CAB? You want the CAB? ButCarter and Alfred Khan got rid of theCAB as part of ‘free enterprise andopen competition’ with Pareto optimality for all!!!! “Those were the days,”!You want to go back to where “You meet the nicest people on”an airplane because no one elsecan afford a ticket! Yup, thestewardesses were drop deadgorgeous and eager to get an extra pillow, blanket, and drink for Mr. Right!

    2. Anne Libby

      My guess is that Fred would have to wear a fake moustache and a hat on the train…or risk getting pitched for 4-6 hours.

      1. JimHirshfield

        No way 6 hours.As for being pitched, serendipity on a train, serendipity on a plane, serendipity all the same.

        1. Anne Libby

          While I’m with you, and go by rail when I can, my most memorable NY-BOS trip via Amtrak (Acela) did indeed take 6 hours. Involved being offloaded to another train, between stations, while being instructed, “Do not touch the train doors as you cross from one train to another.”

          1. JimHirshfield

            Oh, the drama, the drama. Bad luck that day.

          2. bsoist

            I know I’ve mentioned this here before, but the whole family and I took a 5 hour train ride from NY-Penn to Hamilton, NJ ( about 60 miles ) once. We also had to offboard to another train with the same warnings at 1a.m. with temperatures far below freezing. Had something to do with Obama travelling on another rail and an electrical outage, etc. It was quite a night.

          3. Anne Libby

            Yikes. We were fortunate, no kids with in our group, and we were home by 9pm….(And that said, I’d far rather be stuck on a train than on the tarmac, or in an airport.)

          4. bsoist

            you got that right!

      2. ShanaC

        probably most people wouldn’t recognize him in ny….even if they are in tech (just based on the amount of conversations I overheard on subways and such)

    3. Richard


    4. Ana Milicevic

      Depends. If you need your travel time to be productive then take the train. Airplane is quicker door to door but it’s a sequence of shorter windows of time for productivity (e.g. take a call in the cab out, but then you’re walking through to the plane, maybe have a few email minutes before take off, and same on the other side). It’s really down to what your day looks like.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Productivity is to Train, asPerfunctory is to Plane.ImmaGonnaMakeTrainPlaneRhymesAllDay

        1. Ana Milicevic

          Add automobiles in there too for good measure!

        2. pointsnfigures

          Those aren’t pillows.

          1. bsoist

            I think about this movie every time someone travels by bus. “Your mood’s not gonna improve much” 🙂

  6. JimHirshfield

    I’m glad I didn’t merge these things on my Android, despite all the notifications from Google to do so. Thanks for being my guinea pig.

    1. andrewwatson

      more like the canary in the coal mine 🙂

  7. scottythebody

    I’m getting excited to try Android. I somehow like the idea of picking apps for everything (again)

    1. fredwilson

      I loooooooooove it

  8. andrewwatson

    I tried it mostly because it insisted. I ditched it because it wasn’t notifying me about new messages. I mean of all the features a message app should get right …

  9. Pramod Dikshith

    Cant agree more on this. If Google had gotten it’s act together Whatsapp would not have been around. Whatsapp is a delight to use unlike hangout even though hangouts feature is really nice which can be used effectively.Whatsapp is Simple and Fast, exactly what mobile users are looking for. It also boils down to one question. Are Google and Facebook loosing out on the mobile experience game too? (Disclaimer: Facebook’s and Google’s mobile revenue is on the rise though)

  10. Ana Milicevic

    I’ve mostly stopped using SMS messages in favor of Whatsapp & similar OTT apps. Occasionally I’ll text someone and the native Android SMS client seems to work just fine.Fred – I’m curious why you still rely on SMS over other solutions?

    1. William Mougayar

      You don’t use group IM’s for business? I can’t live without real-time IM conversations with the various entities and teams I’m involved in. We use Skype or Slack actually.

      1. Ana Milicevic

        You can group IM in Whatsapp and I love that functionality (interestingly that’s what sold me on BBM way back when I first moved from SMS to text OTT). For Hangouts I find the desktop experience to be much better than the mobile one. It’s kind of a cascading workflow: if I’m not responding on Hangouts people tend to ping me on Whatsapp, and if I’m not responding to either that means I’m off the grid :)Love Skype for video calls (work and personal) but the UX frustrates me, esp. on tablet. Haven’t tried Slack yet – looks really pretty.

        1. William Mougayar

          does WhatsApp have a desktop version? Viber does, but I don’t use it a lot. Is WhatsApp used a lot for business? I didn’t know that.I think the switching costs are higher once you’re on the desktop versions too.Yup Skype can use some UI help. I like the permanent URL that Hangout offers.

          1. Gernot

            Send SMS remotely via Google hangouts is OK. You should try mysms, better web experience.

          2. William Mougayar

            thanks. I’ll try it. do you know how many users are on it?

          3. Gernot

            Don’t know exactly, but 1-5 million downloads in Play Store, same as Migtytext. Https secured as well

          4. Ana Milicevic

            Whatsapp is mobile only – no desktop client. It’s the easiest and least intrusive way to reach me on mobile and I set different notifications for different people/groups so I know when I absolutely must step out and pay attention to my phone.Agree on the switching costs once desktop is in the mix too.

    2. fredwilson

      I don’t send via SMS if I can send via Kik. But I get texts all the time I need to reply to

      1. Ana Milicevic

        This is one of the reasons why I like Google’s contact manager: when someone SMS texts me I first look up their contact to see if they have Whatsapp, etc associated w/ that number and then move the conversation there (esp. if I’m talking w/ someone who I expect to interact w/ frequently).Of course when Whatsapp has an outage all bets are off 🙂

      2. condiosluzverde

        Kik should route SMS in/out like Asana does with email. Perhaps there’s a suitable Zapier orchestration for that.

  11. hungryhungryhippo

    just use WhatsApp — problem solved

  12. sigmaalgebra

    But, but, but, what about the Thumper rule, “If youcan’t say something nice, then don’t say anythingat all.”!Sure, I violate the Thumper rule frequently, but should a bartender????? 🙂

    1. Jim Peterson

      Yes he should.

    2. fredwilson

      Primal scream therapy

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I would pay to see that – would show humanity. 🙂

  13. William Mougayar

    I love Hangouts for video calls, but for IM, I’ve recently been loving Skype, especially that:1. It’s always open on my mac and iPhone 2. There’s a Group function that’s really useful, so it’s becomes a permanent, always present roll of conversations you’re having within private groups.

  14. JimHirshfield

    Thing is, both the SMS app and Hangouts are built by Google. It’s not like the SMS app on Android is built by Blackberry, MSFT, or other phone OS company. Geez.

  15. Eric Friedman

    Hangouts in iOS leaves a lot to be desired as well.

    1. Richard

      How so?

      1. Eric Friedman

        Lots of issues with old chats/archived chats showing up.Duel wielding between personal and work accounts quickly.My need is a quick switch and quick sign on and off feature.Forgetting to do so wastes battery and confuses co workers when they think you may be available. I also get ghost notifications from VERY old archived convo’a

  16. Barry Nolan

    >“mobile apps should not try to do multiple things. Less is more on mobile.”Apple were prescient with their 2009 “There’s an app for that” campaign. Do one job well.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      That doesn’t necessary allow the best experience for a user, though there certainly is value in what they say.

  17. LIAD

    yin when everyone yangs.they all are unbundling, GOOG bundles. Must have missed the memo.They made such a screw up of things forcing Google + into our email/social media lives, wouldn’t want them anywhere near my SMS & Phone contacts.Begrudgingly,A rather lackadaisical iPhone user.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      They could have done it well, though they didn’t.I wonder if any part of Marissa Mayer’s parting of Google had to do with this – whether leading to it directly or going badly because of not having her lead.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yeah, she left when her SMSes didn’t go thru! LOL.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Can you blame her – clearly then no one was listening to her! 🙂

    2. condiosluzverde

      Agreed re google accounts, they are trying to suck us in like a zuck. I’m on my way out. Ubuntu mobile anyone?

  18. B12N

    The SMS/iMessage integration is pretty decent on the Apple side – though sometimes it glitches and what you thought was a free iMessage ends up being a relatively costly international text message. There’s still a lot to be desired though. I always liked using Hangouts for long chat conversations because it’s miles better at finding old conversations, at least when you search it through your PC/Mac.

  19. Steve

    Google should stick to what it does best and if it does venture outside it’s realm, atleast do so with the intent to make an experience better and not just go after users.

    1. JimHirshfield

      “outside it’s realm” Is there such a thing for Google?

  20. Steve

    I disabled G+ altogether. I never used it and I was annoyed that Google promoted it so heavily even though it had little benefit for users. Anyway btw Whatsapp and the regular android SMS app, Hangouts is not necessary.

  21. Charles Kenny

    What dismayed me is that with Hangouts, Google has left the stock SMS app to wither.I’ve tried 3rd party apps (GoSMS was a favourite) but none seemed to really offer a better experience over the stock SMS app, so I’ve gone back to that and can’t be happier. (Note: I run Cyanogenmod on a Nexus S)

    1. Jeremiah Zinn

      Agreed! That is a key point.I understand that a great consumer experience takes away features as it adds new ones, but the fact that the core SMS app disappeared when hangouts SMS integration appeared was a sign that google was prioritizing its strategic goals (hangout and G+) adoption over consumer experience. Thats a bad turn for any technology company to take.Great consumer adoption begets business opportunities. When you try to do things the other way around you are sunk.

    2. Aurangzeb Agha

      What’s the name of the stock SMS app? Voice?

  22. Gernot

    Interesting discussion. A main advantage of using Google hangouts is to send SMS texts remotely via his desktop, tablet or something else. But there are a few better apps, e.g. mysmsAny business man who is spending most of his time on his desktop should send SMS remotely.

  23. Terry J Leach

    I found the desktop Hangout for SMS terrible, so your experience with the Hangout mobile validates that the strategy of “one mobile messaging app to rule the world” sucks.

  24. muratcannoyan

    I’ve had the same experience with load times on my LG G2, very slow. Tried to use Hangouts a couple of times but keep going back to the default. Interesting that while most everyone else is unbundling for mobile Google made this choice.

  25. bsoist

    I was just having a conversation with a friend about Google this morning. He said he thought this was Google’s biggest mistake – trying to do too much integration. I’ve written several times – at some length – about the accounts nonsense.Exactly why I’m a fan of the *nix philosophy – one tool that does one thing extremely well.Many UNIX programs do quite trivial things in isolation, but, combined with other programs, become general and useful tools.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      I hear Benedict Evans talking a lot lately about unbundling.I’ve long preferred a collection of simple unbundled utility Apps, even on the desk top!

      1. bsoist

        yup, me too! 🙂

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I prefer to view what specific values each bundling and unbundling hold – not in a black and white way.

        1. bsoist

          Makes sense. I don’t like dogma in religion or politics, so I certainly think it has no place in software choices. AND I certainly like integration when I can get it. One of the reasons I have always preferred a desktop email client is the integration it can provide with other applications.BUT :)I want the integration to be my choice as much as possible. Separate apps that do separate things and let me put them together the way I like.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Exactly. 🙂

    2. ShanaC

      it is a good starting place, but not a good ending place for a company. Unix isn’t a company….

      1. bsoist

        good thing, right :)Seriously, Google could certainly offer different products for different things, but this focus on integration can really backfire, in my opinion. The example we discussed this morning was what happened to MS Office when it stopped being just a collection of three or five products that worked, and it morphed into a “productivity and publishing suite.”One of the things that really turned me off to the Chromebook was how heavily integrated it is into my Google “identity.”

  26. kenberger

    Same findings here, other than performance.Chrome/desktop is just as bad. Doesn’t integrate correctly with Gtalk or Gvoice. Couldn’t for the life of me ever figure out how to answer an incoming call!The Hangouts desktop app itself is a brilliant game changer to my business. But Google is being ugly in their attempts so far to get it, and G+, to subsume too much.

  27. jason wright

    chomp is champ.bundle and bungle.thinking of your european travel requirements, do you use a dual sim handset?

  28. mikenolan99

    I broke my iPhone screen recently, (Sudden gust of gravity from my new stand up desk) and I thought about switching to an Android phone. My 49 year old eyes would love a bigger screen.However, in the end, it was the prospect of learning all new apps, new lingo, and setting up new stuff that kept me in the IOS Universe.Have I really become the guy who is too lazy to learn new stuff?

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I hate those gusts of gravity.. just out of nowhere – kinetic energy! Bam!Do you practice yoga? It’s a good practice that helps you open up … maybe prepare you to go full Android? 😉

    2. ShanaC

      nah…just being a bit lazy – you’d figure it out in time

  29. brgardner

    Interesting. I guess I am one of the few that has really enjoyed the whole experience. I was really surprised to see all the negative comments. My Speed has been great. I like the all in one. When I bring up my contacts it gives me the option to use an email or a phone number. I choose the phone if I am sending a new text, email if I want to do hangout. Just so no one thinks I am tied to Google, my disclosure is I have no ties, not even good friends who work there. I guess Im just the black sheep.

  30. Shaun Dakin

    Totally agree. I used to use Google Chat all the time. Then they “merged” hangouts and Google Chat, and, and and….I hardly ever use the app anymore.

  31. LE

    Interesting – so in looking who owned the domain I found out that Apple did.They purchased the app store search and discovery tool back in 2012.It doesn’t resolve now so I wonder whatever happened with this.

  32. Dave W Baldwin

    Somebody from Google should chime in and explain what they’ve experienced regarding Hangouts.OTOH, I came across Google Now being available on the iPhone, downloaded it and had a chance to use it a few days back. The speed was impressive per answering my question and coupled with the camera view definately whoops Siri.

  33. TSC

    I think it’s worse than that because the app is dumb. If I’m chatting online with someone, it will show that chat session on my phone. Fair enough. But it marks the session as unread, so I have to click it to mark it as read even though I just had the chat on another device and it was very much read there.

  34. $28312048

    The app was recently updated on iOS from its earlier incarnation of sucktitude. Its actually halfway decent, and as someone who really doesn’t back up to iCloud while my life is in Google… using Hangouts over iMessage is preferred. Perhaps they will get around to stream lining the Android app next.I think the design team saw iMessage and went into overkill.Overall, I think Sundar has too much on his plate or as his responsibilities have piled up have revealed the emperor has no clothes and isn’t as competent as he was made out to be in smaller roles. The Play apps, the Hangouts apps, etc… all of this has been considerably worse since he took over after Rubin got the nudge half way out the door down the street to Google X. Its not a good look. It has gone so far as to me even making media purchases at Amazon over the Play store because the experience is so miserable or half assed.

  35. Jessie Arora

    Have you tried MightyText? Their texting app is SimplyText and is so convenient and reliable.

  36. Andrew Greene

    On the Nexus 5, Hangouts is fast.For me, the issue is that it is easy to confuse the sending account. I frequently send hangout messages instead of SMSs.

    1. $28312048

      Another argument to be made for controlling both the hardware and the software when products completely out of your control can ruin your brand.

  37. Pete Griffiths

    This is a little puzzling. I had a problem initially shared by many others. I couldn’t receive texts. But that was resolved by logging out of Apple messaging. Other than that I have had no problems. It loads fast and is responsive so – I’m puzzled by your experience.

  38. RichardF

    hangouts suck for sms, I’ve used chomp, handcent and gosms

  39. jonathan hegranes

    Fast and pretty wins for my apps…For SMS, Facebook messenger isn’t bad, but my fav is hello sms.@fredwilson… Give it a shot.

    1. Blake Perdue

      I agree, hello sms is probably the one best suited to someone like you @fredwilson:disqus

  40. David Miller

    I’ve had the same experience with a “slow launch” and generally poor performance. I was starting to think it was just my phone, too.I’m going to give Chomp a try. Thanks, Fred.

  41. Perry Ismangil

    Before Hangouts conversion I was already using Contacts+ which includes SMS app.Recommended replacement for the People app as well.

  42. condiosluzverde

    To borrow the words of @dsearls in The Intention Economy, Google dropped a highrise on top of your cozy townhouse and left you in the dark. Google has been actively shifting their energy away from simple lightweight Android toward their closed branded suite of apps within which they hope to keep us all captive. Google has driven themselves off the platform path, a little disappointing in my view.

  43. Matt Zagaja

    Competition is good for consumers and I think apps and APIs have shown this to be true. I wish iPhone allowed me to change my default mail app because I use Mailbox instead of the built-in one.

  44. Kevin Pelgrims

    I replaced Hangouts on my Nexus 5 with 8sms. It’s a combination of the old stock Android SMS app and the version in CyanogenMod. That’s where the power of Android lies, you can go take a look at the source code and make a better version out of it. Sadly enough Google is closing up big parts of the platform at the moment. As an Android developer, that bothers me a lot. Looking at the source of the platform has taught me a lot about how the entire system works.

  45. Walt French

    @FredWilson wrote, “ This post will be meaningless to all of you on iOS.”Actually, worth a read: it helped confirm for me the importance of priorities in product design. I’m sure Google’s engineers are at least as good as indie shops’ engineers. But when the primary purpose of an app is to establish a boatload of context and connections, and when those connections are made from a real-world 3G or 4G connection, rather than from the comfort of whatever gigabit glow surrounds Mountain View HQ, then the app will be slower.Around my SF office, where I have a strong LTE signal, my AT&T iPhone suffers maybe 75mSec latencies on pings; checking in Minneapolis recently (from the “AT&T Tower,” no less), the FCC app gave up based on the number of drops. Other locations test as high as 125mSec.Recently I visited a newspaper website with 50+ unique addresses sought (a gaggle of google, linkedin, facebook, metrics, etc sites in addition to 3 paras+2 pics+YouTube link); if there were no data transfers at all those alone would require no less than 4–6 seconds.*If* Hangouts won’t proceed until it touches base with all its various services, and if your carrier’s service in NYC has lots of drops (ya think maybe?), the way the Hangouts spec was written more-or-less intentionally insured your level of frustration.Versus an app that’s intended to get you your messages quickly and helpfully enough that you’ll use it more (and possibly, use them for your SMS budget).Especially for a person with your income level, I can’t imagine why you’d fool around with “free” services that steal your most precious resource, just to increase Google’s CPC rates.

    1. Richard

      There seems to be some confusion on the blog today on messaging technology, how messages are sent and how various SMS backbones differ.

      1. Walt French

        Please, go on… I don’t think I’ve failed to note the difference between common SMS provision and data services, if that’s what you’re saying.

  46. tpd

    Emu ( is (/was) a great app for SMS. They pulled the Android app for some reason (with no publicity) which made it hard to understand why it wasn’t working properly for me. Apparently it’s still running free on iOS.Their Marco Polo feature is pretty snappy, and seems to be all that’s not working for me on my Nexus 4.

  47. Jake Lewis

    I tried a few of the better featured SMS apps, I think Chomp was among them. In the end I went back to stock due to poor MMS support. Stock SMS app was the only one that reliably sent and received MMS. I think this is down to the way MMS is not well standardized among carriers – APN issues mostly, and Android’s fragmentation doesn’t easily allow 3rd party devs to test all devices.The stock app, whilst missing polish and a few features, is guaranteed to work for that phone and carrier. Is it not possible to unbind Hangouts from being the default SMS app?

  48. brianwats

    The one (..only one) cool feature of Hangouts is that you can swipe right to archive a conversation. I don’t have that on my iPhone, and I like the idea of treating my SMS inbox just like my email inbox.

    1. Nick Ambrose

      Hmmm, I’ve seen the “Swipe right to archive” in gmail too but since I have no earthly idea where an archived email goes, I have been too scared to do it

  49. Brandon Burns

    I think the time delay might be your phone, as I don’t have that problem (I’m on a Nexus 4).But man on man do I agree the whole thing is awful. It was instantaneous for me. I un-synched the two apps within minutes of first synching them. I can’t believe you lasted as long as you did!

  50. Richard

    One advantage of Google Hangouts and iMessage is that messages can have an unlimited number of characters. When you send a message to someone who does not have an I message, then their limit is 160 characters. If the text message exceeds 160 characters, It is divided into two or more text messages. How does Chomp handle this?

  51. Nick Ambrose

    Hangouts/SMS lasted about 2 mins on my phone. I got kind of “duped” into enabling it initially as I had no idea it would attempt to completely take over all SMS on my phone.After trying to send/view a few texts with it, it was rapidly shut off.

  52. christianbusch

    Hangouts is atrociously slow both on Android and on OSX. Google Voice used to be a fantastic standalone app on both and it’s still a good texting app on Android – but Hangouts is like booting up Parallels in order to send a text or make a call.

  53. Mɐx Bulger is pretty good although still has some hangtime between opening a push about a new message and the message actually showing up upon app foreground.

  54. Ryan

    While hangouts doesn’t take long at all to launch on my phone (g2) I do agree about the sms/text hangouts… I often have to wait and make sure I’m hitting the little sms icon next to the person i’m sending a text to or else it’s in hangouts. Frustration indeed.I haven’t tried it yet, but this new sms app called Hello just released and is getting really good reviews and my friend like it as well. Give it a go; I haven’t yet. I think you’ll find it better than chomp at least.

  55. John

    Do you use Google Voice with this? I’d be interested to find something like this but that works with Google Voice.

  56. TracyJHughes

    Around my SF office,g where I have a strong LTE signal, my AT&T iPhone hasdsuffers masaybe 75mSec latasdencies on pings; checking in Minneapolis receasdntly (from the “AT&T Tower,” no less), the FCC app gave up based on the nuqwember of drops. Other locatiosns test as high as 125mShec.

  57. TracyJHughes

    Maybe Walmart plans keeping the trucks to use within the company. We’d hate for the WAVE concept to be relegated to a nice bit PR instead of being utilized.

  58. Zayd

    I highly recommend ‘hello SMS’ it has been by far my favorite third party texting app. The design is clean, it’s fast and has a great notification method. As long as you like the interface you’ll love it.

    1. Nick Molnar

      Agreed. Hello is less garish than Chomp, super fast, simple. I’m also a huge fan of Mighty Text, which I use to read and respond to texts from inside Chrome on my computer. Game-changer.

  59. don

    why not use whatsapp for android?

  60. Zack S

    Chomp SMS isn’t THAT good. I was using it for a while year, but I got tired of it lacking basic features; namely a search feature. And that hideous childish icon. A green smiley square? I switched to Hangouts which is actually pretty good I think. It still needs work, don’t get me wrong. Real SMS features. Its a work in progress. Currently Textra (Chomp’s cousin) is my favorite.

  61. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Hangout is a good product for video chat but it had it short comings for group hangout. However, recently I discovered a tool built on top if it called webinar on air that makes it such a better product. I thought that was a great example of a product developed to improve a poplar google product.

  62. Scott Barnett

    Fred I had the exact same problem. I switched back to regular Messaging. My question is why Chomp? Why not regular Messenger?

  63. paulsethi

    I rarely comment – but as as avid Android handset user, I’ve tested nearly all SMS apps. Nothing has come close to HoverChat for Android (formerly Ninja SMS) – instant message delivery, without disrupting “workflow” or other app navigation – I’m not doing it justice with this description.(No vested interested in this company, as shareholder or otherwise – in fact, if any members of the HoverChat team read this blog, thank you for what you’ve created!)

  64. jamessmith111

    yeh..its correct when your sending group messages we are facing so much problem’s on hangouts normally when your sharing in whats up.its easy to send video and text massages but in hangouts..

  65. Frank Denbow

    I’ve been using GO SMS recently over Chomp. It has sticky’ing of threads and search, although the scheduler is better on Chomp.

  66. Deepak Gopalakrishna

    What a coincidence. The latest hangouts update has removed all this latency. Pretty much as fast as whatsapp now.

  67. BusyMichael

    Just a vote for textra as an sms client. Fast, free and full featured. Chomp is good, but I don’t like the regular prompts to upgrade.

  68. JaredMermey

    The worst issue with Hangouts is that my conversation with the same person on Native Hangouts v. SMS are two separate, totally silo’d threads. I often send an hangout message when I want to send an SMS or vice versa. This leads to the person I am talking to never finding the message I’ve sent, especially if they are not Andoid users and only see Hangouts on their desktop (like old gchat).

  69. Dan G

    I stopped the SMS plan on my VZW GNex a while ago. I use Google Voice only, works great for me

  70. Hu Man

    Late coment! I keep finding Google chrome in my startup list on Windows 7, even though I keep unchecking it. It “magically” reappears. I guess that’s not (completely) evil. You can justify anything.

  71. Gunnar

    I’m a little late to the party, but I have very relevant experience with Hangouts…I was a pretty staunch fan of Android up until last summer when all the Hangouts and Maps changes really started to slow down my phone. It was ridiculous to see text messages show up on my Pebble watch and have to wait a full 3-4 minutes to respond to them on my phone. I switched from an Android to an iPhone last week because I was so frustrated with Hangouts.Hopefully, the crappy performance of Hangouts is at least on Google’s radar now.

  72. Tim Leon

    Having one app that handles all types of communication is the way to go. The strategy is dead on but the execution is poor and I think it has frustrated a lot of users. I tried making Hangouts my default SMS app and immediately switched to an app called Textra. Quite frankly I would rather use one app for all communication but it has to work as smoothly and effectively as the apps that are dedicated to one type of communication. I also want to be able to carry on the same conversation whether I am on a mobile device or a desktop computer. Hangouts and Facebook Messenger both allow this flexibility and are battling to be the one app for all communication.

  73. Aurangzeb Agha

    Not only is that frustrating, but Hangouts will also NOT support your Google Voice #! Messages sent through a third-part SMS provider can be configured to show up as my GVoice # on your phone, but w/ Hangouts, they look like they’re from my native, non-GVoice #. Google is shooting itself in the foot.

  74. Walt French

    Evidence? The (free/loss-leader/freemium—call it what you want) Chomp app says it uses SMS, an utterly minimalist protocol for sending small scraps of data. Hangouts uses whatever data service (non-SMS) your carrier offers, 100% guaranteed to use more data.I’ll stand behind every assertion in my post. If you don’t like what seems to be a logical interpretation of them, that’s of course your privilege.