imgresRemember how awesome Skype was when it first debuted? International videos calls, for free! Sure, the call dropped about 30 times during a 15-minute conversation. And even when the connection was allegedly working, it rarely worked well. But, it was better than nothing, and enabled travelers to keep in touch while we were on the road, and it gave us face time with the friends and lovers we met while traveling once we returned home.

Then Google premiered its messaging platform Google Chats, now called “Hangouts.” With Hangouts, we can video or text, on our computers and phones.┬áChat/Hangouts quickly superseded Skype as my go-to messaging platform.

I love Hangouts because it works with WiFi and data plans. It works on all my computers and on my phone. I can send photos, files, videos, and documents. I can video conference. No other platform offers the range of features and reliability.

One of the key features of Hangouts is that it automatically archives chats in two places: within Hangouts itself and in Gmail. Searching and sifting through volumes of messages is simple.

Today, on my phone and computer I have so many messaging platforms I can’t keep them all straight: Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Verizon messaging and phone, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and Slack. ┬áPeople send me direct messages through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m in a huge decluttering phase of life, and one area I’m streamlining is messaging platforms. Goodbye Slack. Goodbye FaceTime. Goodbye Skype and Snapchat. If you need me, you’ll find me on Hangouts.