Instant messaging has been with us for quite a while now. I might be dating myself a little in the tech world, but I was a user of AOL Instant Messenger aka AIM back when it was in it’s early stages. It was a great form of communication. Then my second most used oldie was Gtalk or Google Talk that is now known as Google Hangouts. Other services that I’ve used is Facebook Messenger and a little bit of Kik. In recent years I have pretty much only used Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger. When I was an iPhone/iOS user I used iMessage quite a bit.
One of the things I loved about iMessage was the ability to use the app on a iPhone, iPad or MacBook. It was very convenient to use the service in sms/mms form and pick up on the same conversation on multiple devices. However, Android users have been half way left in the dark with this sort of feature. Google Hangouts has come a long way since the Gtalk days. The Hangouts app is now available on phones (Android and iOS alike), tablets, and computers. Therefore making it one step closer to an iMessage competitor.
Currently Google Hangouts is only in the form of an instant messenger. Android users can integrate Hangouts as the default messaging service that merges sms/mms messages into the instant message app. The catch is that you cannot pick up a sms/mms conversation on another device. Rumor has it that this feature will be coming to Hangouts soon.
All that said and even though the post started off somewhat pointing out the disadvantage compared to iMessage, there are many reasons to use Google Hangouts as your main messaging service.
- Continuity between all (well most) platforms – Google Hangouts is available on the major platforms including Android, Google Chrome Browser, and iOS devices. Windows OS users, just accept the fact you’re the red headed step child of the mobile industry. I really like having the ability to carry on a conversation between multiple devices. For example, at times it is much easier to chat with someone on a computer to type out extended conversations.
- Video Chats across all (well most) platforms – This pretty much piggy backs off of the last point, but deserves it’s own attention. iOS users enjoy the ease of FaceTime chats with each other but when they want to FaceTime with an Android user, they are left in the dark. Google Hangouts allows multiple platform support. My wife uses an iPhone and I use an Android phone. We like to video chat with each other and the kids; Google Hangouts lets us do so. Not too mention, in my experience Hangouts seemed to have works smoother than iMessage/FaceTime.
- Conference/ Group chats – Again to piggy back some more, this next point comes off of the last point. Google Hangouts allows group video chats. This is perfect for the business conference call, family gatherings, and more. People can chime in from a computer or mobile device.
- YouTube / Hangouts On Air – Google Hangouts is intertwined with YouTube that lets you do live broadcasts. If you’re a YouTuber that wants to make a collab video or if you simply want to connect with viewers, this is a great tool to use.
- Sharing content – Using an Android device and when sharing content to a sms/mms message; Hangouts is the easiest way to share. For example, if you find a webpage you want to share in a text message all you’d have to do is select menu > share > Hangouts > then you will see a list of names of the recent conversations you’ve had and you can tap that name to share the content. This is easier because in other messaging options you’d have to type out a name or phone number. Hangouts cuts outs a step or two making sharing faster and easier.
- Looks better – I have been a long time Galaxy phone user and I have disliked the design since day one. The Galaxy messaging app looks old, out dated and ugly. Hangouts is cleaner, has a stock Android design and is pleasing to the eye.
- WiFi – Let’s say your carrier isn’t so great in coverage around the area you’re in and you can’t send a sms at all. If you have a WiFi connection there is not a problem whatsoever and you’re able to send messages, pictures and videos.
As you can tell there are many reasons to use Hangouts as your default messaging app. The ability to use it across platforms and video chats with most platforms are my favorite reasons to use Hangouts. Personally, I think this is the best way to communicate with others and the features keep stacking up. Hopefully soon full sms/mms support comes to Hangouts. You’d think it wouldn’t take so long because Google has Google Voice that is like a sms app that has the option to use a phone number. Regardless of the what the future holds, now is a great time to start using Hangouts if you have not already.
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