Google’s solution to the end of Hangouts is Messages. My solution to this problem has been, “Screw that”.
For the majority of my use case my SMS roll through my tablet. A process that Hangouts, as meh as a chat app is it has always been: handled well. In the years prior, I had relied on a Bluetooth connection between my Android phone and tablet to make the magic happen. In the post Hangouts world, I pretty much just relied on its integration.
Google Fi and Hangouts started the GTFO and use Messages push a week or two ago. Since Hangouts ends in January, I decided to give it a go and see how good the results would be. Well, an iPhone SE is how well that experiment went.
Using the web version on my tablet shifts from how Meh the current iteration of Hangouts is to “And why the frak am I using this?”. I figured, at least, it had to be worth while on my phone. Whether it’s the natural way it works, or an aspect of Google Fi: Messages sucks ass on my Moto X4. I dislike using the web version; I despise using the Android version. Even more so where the combination of web + phone often leads me to to using multiple profanities when the phone eventually catches up.
Originally, I had assumed that I would be using android messages when I upgraded from my old Galaxy S5 to the Moto X4. But most messages arriving through Hangouts rather than that, pretty much lead to me ignoring it. Not broke, don’t care. Well, at least for a few more years at that time.
My primary computer when I’m not doing real work is a tablet. Many of the Android tablets I’ve used ended up full blown keyboard/mouse/monitor driven workstations on top of being my general purpose tablet. Thus my phone doesn’t really see a lot of use.
Typically I use my phone when:
- Checking off my shopping list at the grocery store.
- I’ve gone to bed, and it’s easier to reach for my phone than my tablet to answer messages or read Wikipedia with one eye open.
- I’m standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.
- Waiting on food at the microwave at work.
- Suddenly need a calculator or a stop watch, and other things that were cool on a wristwatch when I was a kid.
- The rare times I actually want a one hand device more than a better device.
- The few times I rely on Maps to make sure I don’t take a wrong turn.
- The every few years I’m driving out of range of my favorite radio tower, and choose to jack a playlist into my car’s head unit.
Someday, computer shit will actually just work.
I’m pretty sure that will be the day the first Terminator rolls off SkyNet’s assembly line.
That I sit here fucking with Google and Apple things, both those sentences give my sense of humour a perverse tickle to the funny bone.
“Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” My takeaway from the experiment was that it’s not possible to do that. It’s not just the products and services branded with the big tech giant’s name. It’s that these companies control a thicket of more obscure products and services that are hard to untangle from tools we rely on for everything we do, from work to getting from point A to point B.”
Step one: phone hijacks SMS sending to Android Messages, and disables function in Hangouts.
Step two: tablet can only sync my sent messages. Not getting incoming at all.
Step three: re-enable SMS / set default on my phone.
Step four: archive threads because now they’re two on my phone , and the other only gets a copy of mine.
Step five: send a new message from tablet.
Step six: remember that over the past decade, Google has gone from being one of my favorite tech companies to quite possibly the one that pisses me off the absolute most often. I really miss the days when their betas were more reliable than what the rest of us called release quality. Sigh.
Annoying differences in culture, or slow points of progress.
- Copy files over network to Pictures/Wall Papers
- Launch set wall paper thingy.
- Copy files over…fuck that’s slow.
- Copy files over USB…gah still slow.
- Well fuck.
- Okay, Photos has no idea of how to import from my USB drive.
- Jack in to desktop.
- Launch iTunes.
- How the fuck do you make this music player push files to applications again?
- Clicks little iPad icon that’s not the obvious one.
- Where the heck is it?
- Google it and find directions that are out of date.
- Screw it. *click Photos*, *drag and drop shit*. Nope that don’t work either.
- Files -> On My iPad -> Wall Papers/…. -> share -> save image.
- Yeah, fuck if I’m doing that ~1,700 more times!
- Launch set wall paper thingy.
I find it kinda interesting how the trends have been leaning with the subscription concept. The real need for folks to make a profit is usually what drives decisions; most on the other side of the coin want a decent experience, and if you’re lucky would actually pay something.
Right now, we have a reasonably successful subscription model offered on Xbox. Google and Apple are both launching game subscriptions for their platforms. I’d sign up in a heartbeat if Valve offered a good one for Steam.
To me, personally I think its a great idea.
Over in more serious gaming land, most of the revenue model seems to be focused on sales early in the game release cycle. After a while, being in a subscription package is probably a way for publishers to gain more revenue not less. How well that translates into mobile, I do wonder.
Generally I’ve long since stopped caring about Android gaming. There’s good potential there but short of something Android powered and as universally successful as a PlayStation or Xbox, it’ll never become the gaming platform I’d like to see; read enough it to keep a Window license laying around. But more than a few people play games on their phones and tablets, whether or not the games are crappy or spectacular, there’s plenty of players.
Things that Pie has wrought: Google’s curse.
In the previous version the overview screen was a chunky phone centric sliding flipper but apps had a button on the side of their card, so you could open them in the current side of the screen. Now each app has its icon on the top of the card, and you get a menu when you tap the icon. Containing app info (used to be long touch/hold), open in split view, open in pop up (floating window) view, or lock the app. Which is a lot slower but at least flexible.
So instead of very, very quick access to snapping an app to either side of the screen: you get very slow access to deciding if you want it split or floating. The ability to just turn the currently running application into a floating window has been removed. Which is both good and bad: the gesture was easy to trip when you didn’t mean to but was also extremely convenient if you wanted something like a calculator floating over a web page. I’m not sure if the UI the device used on Oreo was a Sammy thing or a Google thing, but it was pretty nice.
Now here’s why I say fundamentally broken in Pie.
Splitting the screen and hitting overview used to place the overview in the currently active side of the screen. So if you wanted to replace one of the applications, you just tapped it and hit overview. Vola, really fast and simple and obvious. And good if you decided both apps needed to change before you were done.
After updating to pie: the overview ALWAYS opens in the bottom or the right side of the screen, based on whether you’re in portrait or landscape orientation. I have yet to find any way to invert the split apps–you used to tap the resize bar in between and have a UI to switch them. ‘Cuz that is useful. Now you’re stuck with the first app chosen being in the top/left side until you’re done. You might think the first app would show up and you could just select it again? Nope, its card gets removed from the overview.
Likewise you can only stuff in apps from the overview grid that were running. I used to be able to hit a button and select apps from a launcher instead of requiring them to be already opened in the background.
But really, whose fault is it for destroying the multitasking functions? Google’s. It’s Google’s fault. Why do I say this? Because my Google Fi phone running Android One and its pure Googely experience has virtually the same broken multitasking UI. The only real difference is my Samsung changes the string “Split view” to “Open in split view” and adds the popup and lock entries to the menu. Likewise on the phone sized screen it’s a sliding view of the exact same cards rather than a grid view of them.
Suddenly I realize why DeX became so popular among users of newer model Tab S’s that shipped with it. It’s not because DeX mode is that more PC like: it’s because Google fucked Android’s multitasking experience. And I fear, if I was to dig up the CDD for Pie, it would say OEMs aren’t allowed to fix it anymore, lol.
Of course my model being older, DeX is not a feature that was integrated into it. Much like how my model was the first to get USB-C charging but alt modes for driving a monitor didn’t show up until the Tab S4, which does have DeX. Reasons to buy an iPad, += 1.
I find it a great shame. Samsung has done multitasking for so many years, I first used it on my Galaxy SIII phone a very long time ago. In recent years it became a standard piece of Android, which was a really good thing until Google pissed down the feature’s throat and crippled its utility for real multitasking.
Some moron at the big G might call this new layout tablet optimized if they’re not allowed to question orders from their marketing overlords.
Me? I’d say why the !@#$ are you wasting nearly 2″ of my screen real estate to highlight the sections for movies and books? I don’t even want to look at my phone’s layout after seeing this redesign on my tablet, for fear of what else might be found.
I was really on the wall when hamburger design took over the mobile world but quickly came to like it, when it was done well. Interfaces like this however are just wasteful(tm). But it gives you plenty of space to write out Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Books in something like 120 languages.