app Hangouts

Hangouts

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IMPORTANT: As of November 2022, Hangouts was discontinued, and the app is no longer available or supported. Conversations have been migrated to Hangout's replacement: the powerful Google Chat. Google never ceases to amaze users, continually developing apps to solve any problem you can think of: Google Hangouts is a powerful communication platform that includes messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP features, allowing you to contact friends and family easily and quickly. Check out these features:

  • Text messaging: chatting is the easiest way of getting in touch with friends, and Hangouts has everything you could ask for in an instant messaging app. Apart from sending text messages, you can add emojis and share photos or videos. Your contacts don’t need to be online for you to send them messages; drop them a line whenever you feel like, and they’ll see it when they connect.
  • Video chat: you can video-call anyone you want, but not only that: you can host a free video call with up to twenty-five people. While in the call, you can also use messaging features to share notes, photos, links and more.
  • Voice calls and SMS: you can use Hangouts to reach a phone number over the Internet. This means SMS and MMS, phone calls, and even checking your voicemail are available for free. You read it right: no need to have a phone plan to contact not only domestic but also international phone numbers.
  • Integration with Google products: those who use Google apps can enjoy the benefits of Hangouts' seamless integration with other Google products such as Gmail (allowing you to chat, make voice and video calls right from your inbox), Google Calendar (making it easy to schedule or join video calls), Google Drive (perfect to share files and collaborate on projects), and Google Chrome (from which you can quickly start chatting and make calls).

Hangouts on the go

Hangouts' functionalities can be accessed from your phone, too! It has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, respectively. It’s completely free to download and to use, all you need is a personal Google account to log in. The cross-device availability makes it a great option to staying connected across both desktop and mobile devices. Hangouts syncs all your conversations automatically, so it's one less thing you have to worry about when switching platforms. To get Hangouts on your phone:

  1. Download the app (if you're an Android user, you may find it preinstalled)
  2. Run Hangouts: the first time you do it, you're asked to log in with your Google account.
  3. Create a hangout: by swiping left you can start a new conversation, just add contacts and chat away!

Privacy concerns

One of the main concerns with Google Hangouts has to do with data privacy. Google made it clear that it only uses standard encryption in conversations, that's to say that it encrypts messages and calls while in transit, or while they're being sent. Here’s the problem: since it’s standard and not end-to-end encryption, when arriving at the server, Google can access your conversations. You should bear this in mind when using Hangouts, and don't send private or sensitive information, as your privacy cannot be totally guaranteed.

In conclusion…

If you need a simple, user-friendly communication tool to stay in touch with friends and family, then Google Hangouts is a good choice. It's pretty basic, and that makes it perfect for personal use. However, this simplicity, together with the lack of end-to-end encryption, makes it a definite no for businesses and professional use.

Pros:

  • Perfect for personal use.
  • Completely free.
  • Integration with Google Workspace.

Cons:

  • There are better conferencing tools for businesses.
  • Poor video call quality.
  • No end-to-end encryption.
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