Nowadays almost all people use some app to send text messages to each other. Surely the one you use the most, both them and you, is What Sapp, due to its popularity. But there is a possible alternative to that widespread service, and it’s provided by another well-known technology company: Google. Said alternative is Hangouts, which although not as popular, also has some pretty attractive features. Apart from sending text messages, with Hangouts you can also make video calls. And that is one of the functions that its consumers like the most. If you want to know more about this useful application, at DonHowTo we teach you how to use Hangouts on Android.
What is Hangouts about?
When it launched Hangouts back on May 15, 2013, what Google did was essentially roll several previous apps and features into one. In this way, we can find ourselves from a text chat to a useful tool for making video calls. The fact that these features are included within the same app makes it much more compact and organized than before. Before its arrival, most of its different functionalities were found in different applications, independent of each other.
Main features of the application
Hangouts are a multiplatform application, so you can enjoy it both on your computer and on Android or Apple devices. Within the application, you will be able to find a multitude of features and functionalities that are interesting to communicate with your contacts. Some of those features are as follows:
- Chats and video calls: With Hangouts you can have both text conversations and video calls with your different friends or contacts. In fact, one of the most appreciated aspects of the app is those video calls. They can host up to a maximum of 10 participants.
- Live conferencing on YouTube – Thanks to YouTube, you can make your video call reach an unlimited audience. Once you’ve finished it, it will become a draft video in your YouTube account. There you can edit it to your liking and then publish it if you want.
- Synchronization between different devices: This feature is one of the most useful in the application. If you start a conversation on your mobile phone, you can continue it on a computer. And the same happens in the opposite case.
- Profile customization – While it’s true that your profile picture will be the one you have on your Google account, you can easily change it. In addition, you can also include a status phrase, as in other applications of the same purpose.
- Use of emesis and others: during video calls, all participants can send each other emoticons, gifs (animated images) and locations (logically supported by Google Maps).
- International Calling – Because the app includes Google Voice, you’ll be able to communicate from multiple nations with other users who have Hangouts. The best thing about it is that there is no cost to this.
- Cross-platform app – In addition to Android, you can also find Hangouts on Windows and is devices. In this way, the users of these platforms will be able to communicate without any problem.
What do you need to use Hangouts on Android?
Now that you know all the features that you will have at your disposal with Hangouts, it is time for you to know what requirements you must meet to start using the application. Those requirements are as follows:
- A smartphone with Android 2.3 or later operating system.
- To Google+ account. If you do not have an account you can create a new one.
- Internet connection.
=> Join the Waitlist for Early Access.
Instructions for using Hangouts on Android
Now that you know what you can do with Hangouts, you should know how to install and use it. As you can see if you try, they will be two very simple tasks. The steps you must follow are the following:
The steps to follow to install Hangouts on your Android smartphone are:
- If Hangouts is not already pre-installed on your mobile, you will have to open the Play Store and search for it. It will surely be the first result of your search.
- After opening the app tab, tap “Install” (if you don’t have it pre-installed) or “Update ” (if you have it pre-installed but not updated to the latest version).
- When the process is finished (if your Internet connection is fast it will last very little), look for the application in your menu. You will find it easily, since the icon shows two white quotes inside a green balloon.
Now that you have Hangouts on your Android smartphone, you will have to learn how to use its main features. Those functions are very easy to understand.
- Home screen – On the screen that appears as soon as you enter the application, you will see all the conversations in which you are participating.
- Settings – In the top right corner you will see three horizontal lines. If you press them you will access the application settings and you can change accounts.
- Start conversation: to start a new conversation you must press the circle in the lower right corner, where a “+” symbol appears. If you select « New conversation «, it will take you to a new screen to create it. From there you can search for the contacts you want to talk to, or also create a new group.
- Video call or voice call: The process to make both calls is practically the same. In the case of the video call, you can also start it like the text conversation, but by pressing “New video call”. Although there is another way to do it. In a conversation already started, at the top you can see the symbol of a video camera next to the name of the contact or group, which you only have to press. To start a voice call, next to that video camera you will see a phone, which you must also press to call.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Graphical Simplicity – The layout of the screens in Hangouts is quite simple and visually appealing. Plus, it’s pretty easy to know where to click to perform each task.
- No numbers required – Unlike many other messaging apps, with Hangouts you don’t have to have your contacts’ numbers to add them. You only need to know their Google email address (their Gmail), and that they also have the application on their smartphones.
- Video calls: Although other applications also offer this service, Hangouts does it in a more special way. Up to 10 participants can be accommodated in these videoconferences, including the one who initiates it. In addition, if you wish, you can publish them later on YouTube. In this way, you will have the possibility of reaching an almost unlimited audience.
- Security and privacy – So far, Hangouts has not detected any major attacks. Although it does not mean that you will not suffer from them, it will be quite unlikely. In addition, no one will be able to send you any message without your authorization.
- Only available on Android and is: One of the main disadvantages of Hangouts is that it can only be downloaded by users with Android or is smartphones. Other applications, on the other hand, are available on other operating systems.
- Low popularity: Today, the vast majority of users have What Sapp as their favorite option when it comes to sending messages. That means most of them still don’t know about Hangouts.
- Low accuracy in messages: Although the messages are sent instantly and you can see what time you sent them, there is a weak point in that aspect. It is not indicated when it was delivered to its addressee, or whether he has read it or not.
Tanner AbrahamData Scientist and Software Engineer with a focus on experimental projects in new budding technologies that incorporate machine learning and quantum computing into web applications.
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