Editors' Note: The "Download Now" link directs you to the Google Play Store where you must continue the download process. This download may not be available in some countries.
Google's Hangouts stands out as a reliable, easy-to-use, and enjoyable messaging and video-chatting platform that impresses with its overall accessibility and performance. The only downside to using this app is that you need a Google+ account, which isn't actually that much of a problem.
Practical and straightforward: Hangouts looks and feels clean and to the point; the lack of clutter and of unnecessary frills enables you to focus on the conversation. The search bar for quickly finding any Google user and inviting them to a conversation, the image-based contact list, and the left-hand side tab for managing multiple ongoing conversations make this app extremely convenient.
Effortless switching between accounts: Switching between personal and work emails takes only two taps through the menu at the top of the screen. This is faster than having to log out and re-enter your log-in info, which is what most other similar apps require.
High-quality video chat: Supporting up to ten participants, the video chat feature is one of the things we liked most about this app -- it looks great and is lag-free, even when talking to someone on a different continent.
Emoticons could be improved: We weren't too impressed with the smileys available, though we did like the other, more inventive emoticons like animals or vehicles.
No night mode: When used in the dark, the interface is quite bright and can tire your eyes.
Requires Google+: What's more, the image that is used as your avatar is the Google+ one. If you're not into social media, you might not like that.
Google's Hangouts runs smoothly, proving to be an excellent messaging and video-chatting platform. Its greatest appeal is that so many Android devices come with it pre-installed and that most of the people in your contact list use Gmail and can be easily invited to chat. This is probably the most universally accessible messaging app around, together with Facebook Chat.
Hangouts brings one-on-one and group conversations to life with photos, emoji, and video calls for free. Connect with friends across computers, Android and Apple devices. Brought to you by Google.
More Hangouts awesomeness:
What's new in this version:
Hangouts replaces Google Talk. Update now to bring your conversations to life.