/ / How to use Hangouts on Android

How to use Hangouts on Android

Hangouts messenger is a free instant messenger with VoIP support developed by Google. It was launched in 2013 and combined the functionality of several other well-established and quite popular Google products with their users' databases. The new solution was aimed to replace several applications used to perform separate tasks by one integral client for all options which might be needed for a user. Speaking of instant messengers, there are the possibilities of exchanging text messages and having real-time communication with voice and video.

The Hangouts service is tied to the Google account and is available to every Gmail user. It was a predefined app installed on all Android based mobile devices until this requirement cancellation in 2017.

At the current stage, the Hangouts messenger is a cross-platform solution which can work in any environment: there are mobile apps for Android devices and for iPhones and iPads, the web version working in a browser and the dedicated plugin to work with Hangouts on a Windows desktop computer or Mac.

So, this article will help to how to use Google Hangouts on Android phones and tablets to exchange text messages and make calls.

Tutorial on how to install and register the Hangouts messenger on Android

First of all, download the mobile app at Google Play and install on your Android smartphone. Launch it to configure the initial settings.

As Hangouts messenger is by default tied to the Google account, you won't need to create a separate user for it and remember login details. It is already registered to the same address and password you used to register your Android device where the product is installed. So, the app will offer you to get started, and you will be able to add contacts and start to chat with them or make calls from your Android phone.

By the way, if you have several Gmail accounts, you can sign in to this application installed on the Android mobile device with a different ID if you wish. It is possible to keep and manage several accounts in one application without the necessity to sign out and log in to the app to change the user. It is a very convenient option if you have different accounts for work and personal communication, this way you won't mix the chats.

To sign in to Hangouts under a different account on the Android phone, open the side menu of the app and choose the option to add account.

Enter your credentials and log in to another account following the standard procedure. After that your second account will be added to the application. You can add as many users as you wish and switch between them with a simple touch.

Note that when you reinstall the messenger on Android devices, you will be asked to define the account to log in on the application launch.

You can also set your status which will be shown to all your contacts and thus share some thoughts, notes or plans with them at once. The option is provided in the side menu of the Android app.

Manual on text chats in Hangouts on Android

The interface of the Android application is very simple and even ascetic. To start the text chat, click the “+” icon and choose “New conversation”.

Add the contact you want to chat with. You can search for the name, email address or the phone number (many Google accounts are also tied to phone numbers).

Type the text message in the corresponding field. Note that you can use smileys and stickers to add more emotions to your text chatting, and also you can send files via Hangouts.

If you want to send some file attachment via this chat, note that it only allows sending images (this limitation is set for all the versions of the product, both mobile and desktop plugins and browser version).

If you want to exchange files of other types, you might upload them to Google Drive and share the link — it won't cause any difficulties on Android smartphones, as they provide access to other Google services by default.

Group chats are also supported in the Android app. To create a group, you can use two options:

  • Configure the new group from scratch with “New conversation”. In this case, choose the “New group” option and set it up: give the name, specify the participants and save.

  • Turn the personal chat into the group one. To do this, click the menu in the chat window and accept to create a new group.

It will include the person you are already communicating with, and you can also add more members to your conversation in the same way as shown above.

In the Android app, you are adding people to the group conversation yourself, and also it can generate a link to join the text chat for someone else. It is available in the “People” section of the “Options” menu.

Any participant can leave the conversation choosing this step in “Options”.

You can place shortcut to your chats on the “Home screen” of your Android smartphone or tablet to access the necessary conversations without the necessity of searching through the chats in the application, especially if you have many of them.

The chat logs with the text messages, smileys, stickers and attached image files are automatically saved in your Gmail account (the same one you used in to talk in the application). You will find those transcripts in the “Chats” section in the Gmail desktop interface.

Instruction on making audio and video calls in the Hangouts client on Android

The service supports the default option of calling to other Hangouts users (and also allows the option to connect mobile and landline phone numbers).

All calls within the service are free of charge and do not have time restrictions, the quality of connection will depend on the Internet powers available. For Android phones and tablets it is recommended to use Wi-Fi connection.

Both personal and group Hangouts calls are supported on Android devices.

To make a personal call in Hangouts for Android, do the following:

  1. Note the handset icon in the chat window and click to call. This will start the audio call with your contact (this option might be preferable, as voice connection consumes less resources than video calls).

If you want to see your counterpart, click the camera icon to start a video call.

  1. Click the “+” icon in the main window of the Android app and choose to start a new video call.

After that, choose the person from your contacts or enter the details directly and tap the camera icon.

Hangouts video calls are the default option, but you can disable your phone's camera if you wish.

The incoming call sound notification won't let you miss it while using your Android device.

This Google service is widely used as a platform for group work due to its option to run group video conferences. There can be up to 10 participants in the group video chat at once.

To launch a group video call, create a group for the members of that conference. Then in the group chat window tap the camera icon.

Also it is possible to invite more participants to the ongoing call, and this can be done from both sides of the talk.

For Hangouts video calls it is possible to share links to join the video conversation via the means of your choice.

Your contact will receive that link and will be able to connect at once (of course, that person needs to use this product as well, or just have a Gmail account which provides direct access to the functionality).

These are the options for real-time voice and video communication which are provided by this VoIP product for free. The service also includes the paid option of calling to the mobile and landline phone numbers.

User guide on calling to the phone numbers from the Hangouts for Android application

The possibility to make calls to the usual phone numbers is one of the main advantages of the service. This option is present in some other instant messengers like Skype and Viber, but Hangouts wins this competition due to the significantly lower rates for such calls. Besides, calls to mobile and landline numbers in the USA and Canada are mostly free of charge, so, it is really beneficial to use this product to connect with people in those areas for free.

To use this service, you need the Google Voice account. There you first need to choose a special phone number for such calls from your application (the cogwheel icon).

Then you will need to verify your mobile phone number for call forwarding to receive the inbound calls via Hangouts to it.

After that, only you will be able to answer such calls from your usual phone.

The Android mobile app does not have the option to call to phone numbers by default. If you need this feature, another app will be necessary: get the Hangouts Dialer at Google Play for free and install on your device. This app will add the phone call option to your main Hangouts application, or you can use the Dialer utility as a shortcut to the necessary calling feature.

When you install the Dialer, the interface of the Hangouts messenger will be changed — a new tab will appear in it.

Top up your balance. Google Voice service does not offer subscription types of payments; you should put a certain amount on your account instead, and it will remain on it and be used for the calls only.

You will get notifications about paid calls from Google Voice with the definition of the price, and also will be able to track your payments in the billing section of the account.

To make a phone call, go to the Phone tab in the Hangouts Android interface and enter the name or the phone number of a person. The option to dial the number directly is provided as well.

Note that the Hangouts app is not suitable for emergency calls. You will need to use the standard means of your Android smartphone.

Hope that this description will help to better understand how to use Google Hangouts service and app on Android phones and tablets. This popular messenger is very simple to use, not overloaded by numerous settings which might not be needed, though it provides all the necessary options for free.

Besides the default set of options offered by the main instant messengers (free instant texting and calls between the service users), it can offer a possibility to work with several accounts and connect to different people from one application without the need to log out and sign in with different credentials each time you need to use another user ID. As for the paid services, the prices of international calls are lower than those offered by the Hangouts rivals on the instant messengers market, and they are much lower than the phone providers' fees. Also, Hangouts allows free calling to the USA and Canada, which is not available in Skype or Viber.

Google Hangouts is a convenient and reliable product which is worth trying.

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