This morning I was chatting on Google Hangouts with my brother, currently living in South Korea. When I left the house, I just picked up the conversation on my phone, but I realized something that hadn't dawned on me before. The sound it makes is not the sound I set back when I first started using hangouts. When did that change? My best guess is that this changed when I Google finally bestowed upon us the ability to set custom sounds for our hangouts conversations.
If Facebook is the "move fast and break things" company, then Google is the "test everything" company. Google hangouts had so much hype around it. A place to unify all our communications. A single place to have merged conversations. The hype has us believing it would give us a single communication platform. The reality has been anything but. Almost immediately people realized the lack of functionality in it. You couldn't even set custom sounds per person. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sent feedback almost immediately. And it took quite some time for that feature to roll out. WHAT TOOK SO LONG?
This singular feature isn't just a one off case either. I feel like every feature users request takes 6 months to a year to roll out. Google moves with the speed of a tortoise. Google Hangouts' group chats still don't feel properly integrated. Try using voice to send a message to a group. We only recently got the ability to do this with individual hangouts. I hope Google is very much regretting its deal with Vidyo in the creation of hangouts. What used to be an open platform of Google chat (XMPP behind it) is now a very much closed system that is slow to add functionality to.
Maybe at some point Google will realize its folly but I suspect we'll have a long time to wait for that too.