A versatile and free messaging app
Hangouts is a free social and communication service that allows you to send emojis, photos and make group video calls. You can host a free video call with up to ten contacts, chat in groups and send messages to people even if they're offline. Hangouts can be accessed across all of your devices as an app, or on your computer through the Chrome extension.
The Hangouts app is part of Google's suite of online apps and is essentially a simpler version of Google Meet and Google Chat. Both of these latter apps contain more features but are orientated towards businesses users. In addition, both Google Meet and Google Chat require a monthly fee to use, making Hangouts a more attractive option as it's entirely free. Other popular communication apps you can download are Signal and WhatsApp.
Overview of Google Hangouts for Windows
Google Hangouts is a simple option for keeping up with people synced to your account. When you open a new message, it displays an updated list of everyone online and available for a chat or call. If you find some free time, there's also the Google Duo icon that allows live feeds from the user's camera - perfect for sharing moments with friends near and far at any given moment.
Chats are a quick and easy way to communicate with friends. The Hangouts app has the standard features of most messaging apps like Zoom and allows users to easily send emojis, status updates, videos, or photos. Chats can be used for many purposes - whether you're looking for some entertainment while waiting in line at Starbucks or sharing your latest vacation photos.
When you want to chat with someone, all that's required is typing their name or email address in the search bar and sending them an invitation. You can add more people to your group chat by clicking the plus icon found at the top of the chatbox. To send a photo, click the image icon on the bottom-right to send your photos to everyone in the group.
For video calls, click the video call button, and another window will pop up. Once your call begins, you can quickly turn off cameras or mute microphones with one simple click. In addition, you can use in-call messaging to share links, photos, and notes with everyone during the video call.
This app is designed to sync all your chats across devices, so if you use it on both a PC and Android device, then Hangouts will automatically update messages without any hassle. In addition, you don't have to worry about manually syncing devices as this app does most of the work in the background using little resources.
More useful features to manage your Hangouts
Send your friends a message and start talking anytime they're offline. An appealing feature of Messages is the ability to send messages even when somebody's not online. You can tap on their name, write something personal in the text box (perfect for saying hello or sending an emoji), then hit ‘Send’ without having to worry about them being busy with other things.
If you want to respond later, you can snooze your notifications. This will help prevent the distractions of phone calls and messages while focusing on what's important now. Additionally, with Google Voice, you can make phone calls using a US number and your own voice. You may also send text messages or check your voicemail to keep up with friends and family.
Google has been busy making their well-known chat app even better by adding a new feature that will let users see the history of conversations with friends and family members. With this update to the application called 'Hangout History,' all of your conversations are saved on Google Drive for easy access. This is a handy feature in case you need to remember something specific someone said, like a phone number or address.
How is Hangouts video quality?
Hangouts offer a basic but still serviceable video call quality. The clarity of the sound that comes through in each Hangout is a little less than what you would expect in other apps like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
It can be a struggle for participants on your Hangouts calls to maintain clear connections. Even if you have excellent internet, the other party may not, and will be subject to blurriness or delays in their voice. This can lead to people constantly talking over each other, which can be frustrating and awkward during meetings.
Security concerns with video conferencing platforms are a big issue these days, but Hangouts has this covered. The chat app offers security features that come bundled in the G Suite, like preventing unwanted participants from hijacking your call.
Using the Hangouts Chrome extension
With the help of the Hangouts Chrome Extension on browsers such as Safari or Firefox, you have access to everything that would be available in an instant messenger—from screen sharing to voice chat, even video calls.
To install Hangouts on your computer, download the Hangouts Chrome extension, then click ‘Add to Chrome’. Next, the extension will automatically open.
Simple but essential features
Google Hangouts is the perfect solution for those who want a simple way to chat with friends and family. It's comfortable, easy to use and understand, has everything you need for communication but without too many extras that make it seem too complex.
If you're looking for a free tool, Google Hangouts is a great option for those who want to video conference but don't have the money. All you need to use the app is a personal Google account, and there are no monthly fees. But bear in mind it's aimed for personal use and not for businesses.