Businesses around the world are using Google Hangouts to improve their communications, but what is Google Hangouts? The desktop and mobile app is a free messaging service that allows users to start group conversations and video calls. It’s fully integrated with Google Workspace, meaning you can quickly start chats with your contacts from Gmail and stay synced across your devices. Let’s learn how to use the app and Google Hangouts extension, and examine the pros and cons of Google Meet vs Hangouts.
If you’re a little confused as to why Google has more than one messaging and video calling app, you wouldn’t be alone. Google Meet and Hangouts may seem like similar concepts, but there are actually several key differences between the two. The primary purpose of Meet is to host scheduled video calls, with advanced features available depending on the edition of Google Workspace you have. Google Hangouts is best used for less scheduled interactions such as direct messaging and calls when you need a quick response.
Both of the messaging app services are integrated into Gmail, making it a breeze to get started. One of the most notable differences between the two apps is participant size. Google Meet is aimed at larger teams and can host up to 100 participants in a single video call (boosted to 250 with Google Workspace Enterprise). Google Hangouts on the other hand only lets 10 participants join a video call, but allows up to 150 people in a group chat.
Hangouts is great for making free group or one-on-one video calls but doesn’t have the same focus on advanced features like meeting recording, noise cancellation and polls that you get with Meet’s premium versions. Hangouts is also available as a Chrome browser extension, making it easy to see new notifications as you switch between your different tabs and work files. You can position Hangouts anywhere on your screen and pop out important conversations for extra visibility.
Google Hangouts can be a really useful tool for providing quick feedback and managing virtual teams in real-time. As chats can be started from within your inbox, it’s easy for team members to take part in discussions about the workflow and respond to time-sensitive questions in a matter of moments. Large group sizes of up to 150 people mean you can include everyone you need. Plus, you can always message your contacts, even if they’re currently offline.
While attachments such as documents and spreadsheets are sent via email, Google Hangouts allows you to attach images and videos with your messages. One potential application for this is to speed up problem solving in your daily operations. Let’s say you have a damaged product or an IT problem that needs to be looked at; Google Hangouts is one of the fastest ways to send a photo, video or screenshot from your computer or phone to multiple people at once. The mobile app also lets you send maps, which could be useful for directing clients or new staff to your offices and business locations.
Google Hangouts is a less formal communication channel than email, making it a great way to bring together virtual team members who work together on a daily basis. Your colleagues in different locations will work better if they have a friendly professional relationship with one another, and Hangouts helps to facilitate that by providing a place where they can talk and share advice. Hangouts makes it easy to communicate in a more conversational way thanks to its emojis, stickers and GIFs.
When considering which app to use, you should think about how you communicate with your teams and clients. If your business relies on regular scheduled meetings, Google Meet is a better tool due to its larger video meetings and extra features. For coordinating projects and quickly solving problems, Google Hangouts is a better option.
It’s worth repeating that Google Hangouts and Meet are both included for free as part of your Google account, so there’s no real need to choose between them. To gain access to Google Meet’s more advanced features, like longer meetings, cloud recordings, and more participants, you’ll have to upgrade your entire Google Workspace plan. We recommend trying out both of the free chat apps and seeing which fits your needs better. You may find them both useful.
If the team collaboration aspect of Google Hangouts sounds appealing to your business, you may also be interested in what Textr has to offer. Textr is an app that allows you to assign local, toll-free phone numbers from the USA and Canada to your team members around the world. Your remote staff can respond to customers together through Textr’s group messaging and share contact lists for a better and more efficient customer service experience. Available on both desktop and mobile, its collaborative platform makes it easy to bring your team onboard and follow up on leads.
Before you get started with Zoom, you should take some time to consider which of the app’s pricing plans is right for you. Freelancers or small start-ups may get by with Zoom’s free Basic plan, but investing in the Pro plan is a better idea if the 40 minute meeting limit and lack of cloud storage is going to be an issue. If advanced features like recording transcripts and managed domains are important to you, consider going for the Business or Enterprise plans.
No, Google Hangouts does not use your phone number. Hangouts calls are conducted over WiFi or data using your Google account. You can connect your Google Voice account for phone calling and SMS texting.
Yes, Google Hangouts is free to use with a Google account. There is no premium version of the app.