When the ways we can hang out are severely curtailed, Google ($GOOG) Hangouts starts looking like a great place to connect with friends and family. Unfortunately for Alphabet, that's not the case for corporate users, any more. 

Part of the issue could be chalked up to C-suites' rising aversion to staff using external, unapproved chat platforms to discuss company business. And some are telling employees to get off unsecured platforms like Hangouts. 

But that's not stopping everyone else from downloading it. Our first chart tracks the latest iteration of Google's Hangouts Meet app in the Apple Store, which saw surging engagement as people hunkered down for shelter-in-place. But it doesn't tell the full story. 

In the Apple ($AAPL) Store, several launches and different iterations of Google Hangouts (plus its rebranding) have provided various different data metrics tracking engagement, although ours above is the most recent version's. Ratings tell another story - today, the version of the app we track above, has a rating less than 2.4, putting Google's videonetworking app far off the pace of others, like Zoom, Facebook Kids Messenger and Microsoft Teams, that earned better ratings from users. 

Within the Google Play Store, Google's Hangouts has developed far fewer iterations (two that we tracked), with the most-engaged version earning millions of reviews, and an uptick in engagement, as evidenced by the tiny uptick at the far upper-right-hand-corner of our chart. The other (Hangouts Meet) has far fewer reviews over time, but has seen rising engagement. But, both apps have earned scores lower than 4-out-of-5 from users, putting Google at the back of the pack in its own app store. 

Maybe rebranding Hangouts to Chat, and in the process, making the tweaks that make users happier, will help bridge the ratings gap. Or, maybe, Google will need to strike a M&A deal to catch up with other companies' slicker, better-liked apps. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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