Hangouts
Rating:
Author:
Google LLC
Latest Version:
Varies with device
Publish Date:
2020-06-04
Size:
Varies with device

Hangouts Review

Hangouts is a service for free texting, voice and video calling, both private and group, powered by Google. Download Hangouts for your mobile device and use your Gmail account as your ID for conversations!

Functionality

Hangouts is, in fact, a VoIP and texting service by Google that supports video and voice calls, texting, and conferences. Its app requires a Google account to authorize and the permission to access your contacts, camera, microphone, and calls. With it you can call or text other users of Hangouts.

With Hangouts, you can participate in chats for up to 150 people, video calls with up to 10 participants, and audio conferences. It’s an easy way to share files you keep on your Google Drive, your documents, add locations, links, and emotional stickers.

While this functionality seems trivial for a mobile app, the same features are available on PC with desktop Hangouts client, or with a web version of Gmail. This makes Hangouts quite versatile, though its rival services, like Telegram, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp, are available on desktop platforms too now.

Google uses cloud syncing to keep all your devices synced to each other, so you have access to your complete logs from each of them. Even if you completely delete the app from all your devices but keep the account, it all will recover as you reinstall the app.

Despite the plans Google announced about shutting down Hangouts, so far it works quite well, and it looks like the announcement was made too early. Hardly Google has anything to replace Hangouts so far, though there are some potential alternatives named Hangouts Chat and Hangout Meet, for different purposes.

Usability

Hangouts is similar to any VoIP app, like WhatsApp or Skype, with some difference. First of all, it’s good when you don’t want to expose your real phone number or Facebook page. A Gmail account you use as your ID doesn’t have to be your default Android account.

It’s not easy to access your contacts: you need to start a video call or a text message and then select the contact by typing in the first letters of the name, the number, or the email. Though the app can access your contacts actually, both on your device and on your Gmail account, it doesn’t handle them the best way.

It makes sense for you if you use Google Voice, the service that lets you call landline or cellular phones, like SkypeOut or WhatsApp external calls. But if you don’t, Google Hangouts may seem too underpopulated and counter-intuitive to use along with WhatsApp and its followers. Despite over one billion downloads Google Play reports of, and unknown encore on App Store, this messenger isn’t the default one even for devoted Google users, as there are also Duo, Voice, Allo, and other products.

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by Katie Kilberg D'Agostine
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