Google Hangouts is a well-designed messaging service available across multiple platforms, offering text, audio, and video services in one easy-to-use app.
Chat with a friend or a group: Chat one-on-one or carry on a conversation with as many as 100 people simultaneously. Video chats can handle as many as 10 participants. The audio and video quality are good.
Works across platforms: Hangouts is an app for Android and iOS, but it's also available in Gmail and Google+ and through the Chrome app on Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS. It's easy to start a chat on one platform and pick it up on another.
Mix messages: You can send and receive Hangouts and SMS text messages and quickly switch between the two. You can sign in to multiple accounts and chat with contacts from all accounts.
Calls: Make calls to contacts over your cellular network directly from Hangouts. Add Google's Hangouts Dialer and you can make Internet calls as well.
Send attachments and your location: Tap the paperclip icon in the chat box to send a photo or a sticker. You can also attach a map of your current location to a message.
Lacks fine message control: You can't delete individual messages from a contact, only your entire history of messages.
Google's Hangouts is well designed, works seamlessly with your Google contacts, and is available across multiple platforms. Its combination of text, audio, video, and cell and Internet phone services puts it on a par with other solid messaging apps, including Skype.