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Hangouts alternative?

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http://forums.androidcentral.com – As I'm sure it has been with others, Google Hangouts is absolutely worthless to me. Why they did away with the completely functional Talk app, and replaced it with this hodgepodge is beyond me. I can't see who is online, everytime I want to chat with someone I have to invite them to a hangout, and it doesn't seem to work with people who aren't using google accounts, or at least they never respond to the invites, and I don't blame them. That is an idiotic method of initiating a chat with someone. I need an instant messaging app, not a social media app, not google+ being shoved down my throa (HowTos)