Google Hangouts is an instant messaging and video chat platform developed by Google. It replaces three messaging products that Google had implemented concurrently within its services, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger (formerly: Huddle), and Hangouts, a video chat system present within Google+.
With Hangouts, you can send messages and make video calls on multiple devices to multiple people. You can also share photos and your location with others.
You can keep in touch with family and friends at home or when you’re on the go through Hangouts in Gmail, Google+, the Chrome extension, Inbox by Gmail, Hangouts Chrome desktop app, or on your iOS or Android device.
What you can do with Hangouts
- Send SMS and Hangouts messages: You can start a Hangout with just one person or multiple people. You can also send text messages using Hangouts and your mobile phone number.
- Use with multiple devices: Hangouts conversations are synced automatically across devices, so you can start a Hangout on your computer and continue on another device, like your phone.
- Make video calls: Have face-to-face conversations with up to 9 other people using video calls from Hangouts. It’s easy to invite specific friends or circles.
- Make phone calls: Almost all calls you make to the U.S. and Canada are free. A few U.S. and Canadian destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number. The 1-cent rate may vary depending on the local currency. Calls to destinations outside of the U.S. are at low rates, but calling isn’t available to all locations.
- Share photos, locations, and stickers: You can share photos, stickers, and emoji in conversations. On mobile devices, you can also share your location with others.
What you need to get started on Hangouts
- To use Hangouts, you’ll need a Google Account.
- Download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin. The plugin will allow you to use Hangouts with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.