Google launched Google Hangouts in May 2013. This platform replaces Google Talk, Gchat, and Google Messenger as well as the Google Plus Video Chat feature. The free chat service allows people to chat one-on-one or in groups. You can have up to 10 people in a video call (or with a corporate account, up to 15) and up to 100 people in a text chat hangout.
Google Hangouts is super simple to use. From friendly chatting and long-distance movie nights to work meetings and video conferencing, it allows for an easy way to collaborate and share.
How To Use Google Hangouts in 3 Steps
Google Hangouts is super easy to use. After using it a handful of times, it will be like second nature.
Open Hangouts in Gmail or go directly to the Hangouts site: You can start or join a hangout straight from hangouts.google.com, Gmail or literally anywhere that you see the green speech marks on Hangout. Simply click on the speech marks to open up the chat section of Hangouts. Then start typing where you see “+ new conversation.”
Choose Video, Phone Call, or Message: You can choose do a Hangout on video, with audio only, or through text.
- Choose Person to Hangout With: For video, you'll need to click "Join or Start a Meeting." Then, you'll be asked to enter a meeting code. You can leave it blank if you're starting your own call. Once you hit "continue," hangouts will automatically start the meeting. All that's left to do is invite the rest of the party. If you want to have a video call with one specific person, you can enter their email into the contacts on the first screen, click the three dots to the right of their name, and click "Start a video call."
To call someone, click the phone icon on the left side of the screen. You'll need to enter a name or phone number to continue.
Sending a message is simple. Find the person you want to connect with in your contacts. Then, click their name. A record of all your conversations will instantly pop up. You can also click "New Conversation" to start a message board with multiple people.
While there are other ways to start hangouts directly from Gmail, these options will give you plenty to get started.
How Is Google Hangouts Different Than Skype Or FaceTime?
There are several similar services available, including Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and Facebook Video Chat. However, Hangouts are focused on group conversations more than one-on-one chatting and use more sophisticated technology to switch focus on the person currently chatting.
One reason that people choose Hangouts is for the capacity to share documents, photos, and videos while they're chatting. There are endless applications for sharing media via a text or video conversation from sharing personal experiences with family and friends to conducting business while viewing the same material.
Hangouts isn't as fancy as Zoom or Microsoft Meetings. This might seem like a con, but it has benefits. It's ideal for more secure industries, as you're at a slightly smaller risk of unexpected visitors joining your private chat. Compare that to Zoom, who has been in the news recently for having some unpleasant visitors drop into calls with young children.
You can also use Hangouts to contact people within your company without having to send texts or emails, keeping all your communications in one place.
What Do I Need To Use Google Hangouts?
You can access Hangouts via desktop and laptop computers and iOS and Android powered smartphones and tablets. To get started with Google Hangouts, you must have a Google account and download the Hangouts app. The Hangouts app is free and very quick to download. If you’re using Hangouts on a computer, you can view it in your browser. However, having the app gives you more flexibility to move it around your screen as needed.
If you're going to use Google Hangouts for video calls, it's ideal to have a camera so that people can see you during calls. You can use the internal camera in your computer or mobile device or you can use an external camera. You'll also want to think about the microphone that you're using. Again, you have the option to use the internal microphone or you can purchase a separate device, such as a Snowball.
The Future Of Communication (And Marketing) Is Now
Today, you can't afford to do work the way it's always been done. Covid-19 has made video conferencing a necessity.
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*This post has been updated to maintain freshness and accuracy.