- All-in-one tool for calling, chatting, and video conferencing
- Free to use with video conferencing option on sale for organizations
- Mobile application lacks features the desktop application has
To compete with team communication tools like Slack, Google revamped their Hangouts application for personal use and organizations.
By breaking down the Google Plus messaging feature to integrating the best of Google Voice and Talk, users, are left with a simplified all-in-one application that supports instant messaging, voice calling, and video calling.
The Hangouts app
Google Hangouts is a straightforward application. People communicate with members of their contact book in real time through VOIP telephony, video conferencing, and the best of Google’s instant messaging legacy.
Though the application performs well and does what it’s intended to do, the features are limited cross-platforms.
For example, users of the Hangout web application or Chrome extension have the ability to know who in their contacts is online. Users on Android and iOS, however, are only given a stripped down application that show command panes and logs of messaging and calling history. The web application also allows you to post status messages; however, the mobile apps lack this feature as well.
Besides these complaints, there’s little wrong with Google Hangouts. Both the mobile and the web applications are easily navigable, users can seamlessly switch between video and voice calling to messaging, and the perks of communication apps (i.e., emojis, photo messages, etc.) aren’t missing either.
Hangouts meets G Suite
Recently, Google released Hangouts Meet as a tool for businesses to take advantage of video conferencing services through the company’s Hangouts infrastructure.
This new product features web and mobile applications to support voice and video conferencing for organizations of all sizes. Attached to the G Suite, organizations with subscription’s to Google’s premier cloud-based productivity suite can use Meet to host meetings of 2 to 50 people simultaneously. The size of meetings vary by G Suite subscriptions; however, Meet is fully integrated to other apps like Google Calendar, for example.
Enterprise subscribers to G Suite also can take advantage of unique dial-in numbers for non-Meet users and can also record meetings that are saved to an organization’s Drive.
The basic Hangouts app is free and can be used by anyone who has a Google account. Hangouts “Meet” is an application included in the Basic, Business, and Enterprise subscriptions for G Suite. Prices vary for the subscriptions; however, if you opt to purchase a G Suite subscription, you get a full office productivity suite with the Hangouts Meet app.
Besides a few minor setbacks with the Hangouts mobile apps, the platform is compelling and basic. If you’ve used Google Voice or Google Talk in the past, you are likely to love Hangouts for personal use.
Plus, businesses can also benefit from the Hangouts Meet iteration for video conferencing and unified communication needs.
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