When comparing Hangouts vs Matrix, the Slant community recommends Hangouts for most people. In the question“What is the best software for making video calls?” Hangouts is ranked 1st while Matrix is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose Hangouts is:
Google offers all features of Hangouts completely free on iOS, Android and web with quick and reliable sync across all platforms. It's also tightly integrated in other Google services - it can be accessed from services such as Gmail, Google+, Chrome. While the standard Hangouts offering is completely free, there are business, education and government solutions that increase the participant count to for video calls to 15 and offers support that may cost money.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and cross-platform
Google offers all features of Hangouts completely free on iOS, Android and web with quick and reliable sync across all platforms. It's also tightly integrated in other Google services - it can be accessed from services such as Gmail, Google+, Chrome.
While the standard Hangouts offering is completely free, there are business, education and government solutions that increase the participant count to for video calls to 15 and offers support that may cost money.
Pro Group video support
If you have signed in your Google account, Hangouts allows making video calls with up to 10 people or one-on-one. There are business, education and government solutions that increase the participant count to for video calls to 15 as well as offers support for those accounts.
Additionally, you can switch between using either the front-facing or rear-facing camera on your phone or tablet.
Pro Excellent read receipts in group chat
It's possible to know what each and every participant of the group has read. Their icons are displayed below the last message.
Pro Save and sync your chats across multiple devices
Start chatting on your phone, then on your computer, then on your tablet seamlessly!
Pro No need to create a separate account if you use any other Google service
Hangouts uses Google account credentials. If you use any other Google service, then you already have an account set up.
Pro Can share animated GIFs
If you have gifs in your mobile phone, you can share them in the conversation and your partner will be able to see it animated in the chat.
Pro Google Voice integration
Google Voice is a service that enables making and receiving free phone calls within US. Google Voice forwards incoming calls to all connected devices and allows placing calls from any of the connected devices, but they will show as coming from the Google Voice number.
Hangouts completely integrates Google Voice, allowing you to place calls and receive texts and voicemail from all of your devices. The Hangouts app for Android also includes a needed dialer for making calls with the users Google Voice number.
Pro Free calls to US and Canada from anywhere in the world
Pro Advanced status sharing
Hangouts can inform about the status of other users including what device they are currently using, whether they are in the middle of a call and when were they last seen. This allows making sure that you're not disturbing someone when initiating a conversation. It's possible to granularly turn off status sharing.
Pro Video tools
Hangouts can add different effects and overlays to video calls that can be viewed on your device. Unfortunately, they can't be set from your phone.
Pro Chrome browser extension
Use the extension on any computer you can run Chrome browser to text from your computer or tablet!
Pro Seamless integration with OK Google for voice control and typing
Hangouts can be used completely hands free, even if the app is not open and the phone is locked: "OK Google, send a Hangouts message to Mary".
Pro Has an easy to use client called Riot
Riot.im is the easiest way to use Matrix, with great clients for Web, iOS and Android (and Fdroid).
Pro Bridges other networks into a single decentralised network
Matrix has bridges to IRC (freenode, moznet, oftc, snoonet etc), Slack, Gitter, Rocket.Chat, XMPP, SMS, SIP and others. The point is to 'matrix' all the different networks out there into one single decentralised network.
Pro Built on an open standard
Matrix is an open standard, defining simple HTTP APIs so that devs can easily write their own clients, bots, bridges or servers. You're not locked into a specific set of implementations.
Pro Does not require a centralized server to establish a connection between two users
Matrix is decentralized, there's no one central point that the information goes through and so no once central point of failure or control.
Pro Supports different kinds of communication
Matrix is designed to support Instant Messaging, VoIP/WebRTC signalling (voice and video) and Internet of Things communication.
Pro Offers choice of clients
Which can be found here.
Pro Maintains full conversation history
Pro Has an active community behind it
Pro Has an app store for 3rd party integrations & bots
Riot.im includes an app store with integrations for Github, JIRA, Jenkins, Giphy etc - and anyone can add more via Matrix.
Pro Can be integrated with existing communication services
Matrix is designed to support Instant Messaging, VoIP/WebRTC signalling and Internet of Things communication and allows cross-communication between those services. Meaning one person could be using IRC and another Slack for IMs, or one person could be using Skype and another Google Hangouts for videoconferencing.
Pro Matrix prioritizes direct messaging with people the same as Slack-style groups
Matrix aims to "provide an analogous ecosystem to email - one where you can communicate with pretty much anyone, without caring what app or server they are using" using a neutral identity system.
Pro End-to-end encryption
Matrix features end-to-end encrypted chats which are syncronized accross all your devices.
Con Lack of end to end encryption
Communications are encrypted between client and Google servers but not from sending client to receiving client. This means that there is still a possibility for someone other than the receiver to read your message if they have access to internal Google servers. But it allows also lightweight chat history search, spam protection and other features.
Con Transitioning to corporate orientation
Google is turning Hangouts in to a Slack competitor. It's unclear what the future of Hangouts is, but Google has said the consumer Hangouts we now have 'isn't going anywhere.'
Con Not available on Windows Phones
There is no Hangouts app for the Windows Phone.
Con No way to moderate groups
If a member of a group chat room becomes disruptive, or there's some other need, there's no way in Hangouts to remove somebody from an existing chatroom. Similarly, if somebody is no longer active, there's no way to remove that user from the chat room to make slot for new active members.
Con Doesn't support sending voice notes or video recordings
Currently there is no built in function that supports creating and sending voice notes or video recordings.
Con Poor interface
The app tends to lag, the design can be confusing and considering that another app has to be installed that supplies another icon in the home screen in order to get a dialer for calls in Hangouts, overall it is very confusing and cluttered.
Con No rich text editing
On Android you can receive messages with bold or italic text. However, you cannot bold or italicize text on Android, only on iOS devices or via the web interface.
Con Poor indication of who's online
There is no way to find out if a person in your contact's list is online or not in the Android app.
Con Poorly manages data
Doesn't cache images well either received or sent. Often users will see the sent images re-downloading, same for conversations.
Con No customer support
Free product, you're on your own.
Con Buggy video calls
Whether video calls work on your device is pure lottery, and there's nothing you can do to fix it.
Con Won't send SMS/MMS anymore
They removed support for sms/mms. The same goes with integration to hangouts.
Con No SMS/MMS backup
They don't have options to backup sms to cloud.
Con API support was removed
This change closed options for integrations and connections between similar apps.
Con SMS messages sent from the web app can't be sent outside North America
SMS messages sent from the web app can only be sent to number in America and Canada - sending to foreign numbers won't work, although you can still receive texts from anywhere.
Con Can only "redact" a posted message but neither "delete" nor "edit" it.
The ability to edit a posted message is a powerful feature that has come to be expected since the rise of social media. Several other major chat platforms include this feature. Matrix.org's protocols enable you to "redact" a message (mark it as redacted whereas it is removed from view), but not truly delete or edit it. Deletion and editing are in the works, but in the meantime... CON.
Con Keys cannot be checked automatically
You cannot automatically check keys of your recepients. Only manually.