A versatile and free messaging app
Hangouts is the Google chat application you can use on multiple devices to stay in touch with friends and family. It works as an extension for most browsers, an app for iOS and Android, as well as a fully-fledged program for Windows. You can host free video calls with up to ten contacts, participate in chat groups, and send messages to people even if they’re offline.
All your contacts in one place
Google Hangouts is a simple option for keeping up with people synced to your account. When you open a new message, it displays a list of everyone available for a quick chat. If you find some free time, there’s an icon you can tap to switch to a free Google call. This uses your camera to share live feeds for up to ten people at the same time.
Chats are simple and easy to use. They’re a basic setup and follow the average layout of most messaging apps, like Zoom. You can use emojis, update a status message, and send videos and photos. It’s versatile but remains simple enough for most people.
This app also syncs all your chats. If you swap from your PC to your Android device, it keeps all messages updated. This stays true for contacts. It’s comfortable because it updates every few seconds in the background and uses few resources in the process.
Easy to install
This app comes in many formats. It’s available on multiple devices, so the installation process varies. You can download and install the Google Hangouts apk for Android via third-party websites. For all mobile devices, you can use the Google Play Store, Microsoft store, or App store.
Once it’s installed, you need to sign in to your Google account. It’ll send you a text message, or start a phone call, to provide a unique code. Once you’ve entered this, the sync process will start, and then you’re ready to start chatting.
A non-intrusive interface
The Hangout app is one of the most simplistic out there. You can tinker with a few display options. Some might prefer the messenger style mode where the program sits on either side of your screen within a small rectangular box. This leaves room for you to work on other projects and keep tabs on your chats in the process.
There’s also a fullscreen and windowed mode. Both of these provide more detailed information on each conversation you hold but take up more space. This is probably the best way to use the Google Hangouts desktop app. It hinders the ability to multitask but is more comfortable to use.
Fun chat features
While this program lacks some bells and whistles that apps like WhatsApp have, it still has a few ways to make chatting fun. You can enjoy some insane conversation with up to 149 other people in group chats. GIFs and stickers are easy to access and send. You can also share photos and videos. However, just like most apps, the Hangout program reduces the quality of images to reduce data use.
You can connect your Google Voice account for phone calls, text messages, and voicemail integration. While contacts that use Hangouts can communicate with each other for free, Voice charges you for calls to mobile numbers and landlines.
Another useful feature involves Maps. You can share your location with other people via chat. It’s easy to send a specific destination to friends if you’re planning a trip. This function also provides details and links for more information outside of the app.
Only the essentials
Google Hangouts is comfortable, easy to use and understand, and has everything you need to contact friends and family. It lacks the complexity that other programs carry with them. However, it’s enough to make it a top-notch choice for communication.
The latest update added a block feature. You can now convert text directly into Google emojis via an option that you can toggle on or off. There’s a mute function for specific contacts that applies to chat messages and voice calls. You can also hide and pin anyone in your list.