Google Rebrands GChat as Hangouts and Removes Key Feature… Or Did They? Tom May 16, 2013 Technology Google announced some pretty cool things yesterday, none of which I’ve really read anything about, but what I do know is that they redesigned Google+ to look more like Facebook/Pinterest and they rebranded GChat as Google Hangouts. I don’t mind the rebranding itself, it’s what they’ve done away with that really annoys me. I know the idea behind Google Hangouts is to compete with services like iMessage and Facebook Messenger, but the whole idea behind GChat was that it was an instant messaging app… you knew who was online! That’s really the only thing I don’t like about it. If I want to “chat” with someone at any time, from my phone, I’m probably just going to use iMessage, but that’s only because I’m on mostly Apple devices and an iPhone. So I guess in that sense, and the fact that there are a lot of android phones out there, this move does make sense for Google now that I think about it. I guess now that I’ve talked it out to myself it makes more sense. Hangouts is basically Google’s iMessage which doesn’t need to rely on Online or Offline status… it’s just always online. It will just take a little while for everyone to download the apps so that it truly is a universal messaging applications across all platforms. I do like that the computer portion of it is web based (just like GChat) so that I don’t need an application on my computer in order to talk to people from my desktop. This makes it easier at work where I can’t install iMessage on my computer… Damn, maybe I’ll end up exclusively using Hangouts instead of iMessage…. nah, probably not, but the more I think about it, the more benefits I’m seeing in this. Good show Google. Update: Apparently there is a notification of whether or not people are online, it’s a small green bar underneath their profile picture, but the problem is that the “friends list” on the side doesn’t sort by online or not… Rdist I’ve been using hangout to video chat with to and the kids and our boy in Vegas. Pretty cool. You don’t even need wifi to video chat.