Google Hangouts has been available in Google+ but Google has introduced its own stand-alone app.
Hangouts is now available to download for free from the App Store and it is pre-installed in Android devices. It is so much like Apple’s iMessage – a default messaging feature that’s already available in your iPhone. If you’re looking for a messaging service to use, is Google Hangouts enough to be considered as your primary messaging service?
The Good: Cross-platform Messaging App
Unlike Apple’s iMessage which you can only use to send messages to another Apple user, Google Hangouts can be used to send messages to all platforms. If you’re looking for a primary app, of course, you’d want it to function for all so you and all your loved ones can continue to communicate even if you all use different devices.
Group Video Conference
One-on-one video call is old news in Google Hangouts. If you want to make a video call, why don’t you do it not just with one or two, but with nine other friends? Google Hangouts allows its users to participate in the group video call with up to 10 participants, which is more generous than other chat services’ video call service. This service is free to use on both iOS and Android apps.
All your conversations in Google Hangouts are automatically synced across all devices. This is a great convenience if you started a conversation on your laptop and need to step out. You don’t have to stop all conversations you have – you just have to launch the app on your phone and carry on with your chat uninterrupted.
The Bad: Google+ Account Required
Google Hangouts may be cross-platform but you need to have a Google+ account to use advanced features like the ability to support group video call. This is not a problem if you already have one and creating an account is easy. However, this could be a problem if your friends don’t have a Google account and refuse to make one. In a way, it’s similar to iMessage but at least Google Hangouts can be used in all kinds of devices.
No Read Receipt
Some people like to know if their message has been read by the person they sent it to. It comes with many advantages but it seems like Google Hangouts has other things in their mind. You won’t be able to tell if your message was successfully sent and received by the recipient – for all you know, you’re just waiting for a non-existent reply because someone is busy ignoring you.
Inability to Set a Status
Right now, it’s either you are online or offline. Once online, people can send you messages knowing you’re available and will reply. What if you’re busy or away from your device? Unfortunately, you won’t be able to inform your contacts because you can’t set up a status in Google Hangouts. While being able to tell if someone is online do have its advantages, it can still help if you can put a different status that specifically states your current status.
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