Google has created more than just a messaging app in Hangouts. The company created a unified platform for free group video chats, photo sharing, and text and video messaging. It works across all Google platforms so that you can use it on your computer through Google+, and on your Android mobile phone and tablet through downloadable apps.
Hangouts was announced at Google I/O, developers conference. Gmail and Google+ will allow you to use Hangouts on your computer. Downloadable apps give you Hangouts on your Android and iOS mobile devices allowing messaging across several platforms at once, but not all. To use Hangouts with Gmail you have to upgrade to Hangouts from Chat.
One of the neatest features is the free video chats. You can chat “face to face” with one other person or a group of up to 10 people. Hangouts will not only notice your friends on their phones but also on their computers to see if they are available to join the conversation. The conversation can be switched from one to the other so you can start on your computer and move to your mobile phone if you need to move around. Sound and visual effects can be added to give the chat a little whimsy.
The application offers you 850 hand-drawn emoji to spice up your messages as well as the ability to share photos. You can save your conversations and photos or you can delete them. Hangout lets you see who’s available for conversations and lets you leave messages if they aren’t available.
According to TechCrunch while the application is available for iOS and Android, but you can’t send of receive SMS messages using it. You have to make sure that the person you want to connect with has the application as well. There isn’t a version for Windows or BlackBerry so if you have friends whose phones or tablets use either of those OSs Hangout conversations are not possible. Since SMS is the most requested feature there is a strong possibility that Google is already working on adding that to the application.
While the app is supposed to work on Android devices but there are some glitches. I was able to download the app to my HTC Rezound but when I tried to download it to my Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet, Google Play said that it was not compatible with my device. Both my phone and my tablet are running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich so it’s because my devices are running different versions of the operating system. Hopefully, this will get sorted soon.