How To

What is HANGOUTS / GOOGLE CHAT and how it works

What is HANGOUTS / GOOGLE CHAT and how it works
Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

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Google Hangouts is an easy way to stay in touch with all the people synced to your account. It’s a free social service that lets you communicate by sending text messages, pictures, videos, and emojis. You can send messages to people whether they’re online or not and host free group video calls for up to 10 people at a time. 

Hangouts is a simpler free version of Google Chat and Google Meet designed for individuals rather than businesses. You have to pay a monthly fee to use Google Chat and Google Meet, but Google Hangouts is free. 

What’s Google Hangouts used for?

Hangouts is a social and communication service you can access on any of your devices as an app. You can also use it on your computer using the Chrome extension. Hangouts is part of Google’s suite of online apps that include Signal and WhatsApp. Google Hangouts is an all-in-one communication tool that you can use at home or when you’re out on various devices. If you have an account on any other Google service like YouTube or Gmail, you’re set to use Hangouts.

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How Google Hangouts works

When you open a new message, Google Hangouts shows you a list of everyone online and therefore available for a call or chat. The Google Duo icon also allows live feeds from the user’s camera. Chats are an easy way to communicate with friends.

If you want to chat with a friend, all you have to do is type their email address or name in the search bar and send them an invitation. You can add people to your chat by clicking on the plus icon at the top of the chatbox. To send a photo to everyone in your group, click the image icon. 

To make a video call, click the video call button, and a window will pop up. You can use in-call messaging to share notes, photos, and links. 

This app will sync your chats and update your messages to all your devices. 

Useful features 

You can send messages to people even when they’re offline. You can tap on their name, write something in the text box, and hit ‘Send’ without worrying if they’re busy with other things. You can snooze your notifications. This prevents distractions while you’re busy.

You can also make phone calls using Google Voice, send text messages or check your voicemail. Google has added a new feature to let users see the history of your conversations. Called Hangout History, it saves all your conversations on Google Drive for easy access.

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Using the Chrome extension 

The Hangouts Chrome Extension on browsers like Firefox or Safari gives you access to everything available in an instant messenger. This includes screen sharing, voice chat, and video calls. 

If you want to install Hangouts on your computer, you’ll have to download the Hangouts Chrome extension. If you click on ‘Add to Chrome’, the extension will open automatically.

The history of Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts was launched in 2013 to replace Google+ Messenger and Google Talk and combine all its calling and messaging services. Google Hangouts now competes with other popular apps like WhatsApp and Facebook.

Is Google Hangouts safe?

Google Hangouts is safe to use. Messages sent and received and calls are encrypted, so your privacy is protected. To protect your own safety, only answer messages and calls from people you trust.

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The best and worst of Google Hangouts


  • The interface is easy to use
  • You can sync chats and contacts across many devices
  • You can integrate Google Voice
  • Excellent default security settings 


  • Connections are sometimes unclear
  • Video quality can vary


Google Hangouts is perfect for people who want an easy way to chat with family and friends. It’s easy to understand and use. It has everything you might need for communication without lots of extras that would make it too complicated. 

Google Hangouts is completely free. All you need to use the app on any of your devices is a Google account. Just remember that it’s designed for personal use. There’s a monthly charge for other business-orientated communication apps like Google Chat and Google Meet.

Shaun M Jooste

Shaun M Jooste

I live in South Africa, Cape town, as a father of two children. I've been gaming almost all my life, with plenty of experience writing reviews and articles on the latest titles. With 15 years of experience in local government performing Facilities Management functions, I moved towards becoming CEO of my own company, Celenic Earth Publications, which serves to publish author's books, including my own. I'm a published author of horror and fantasy novels, while I also dabble in game and movie scriptwriting.

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