A person new to an Android smartphone or a tablet may think that it misses a dedicated video chat app like Apple facetime. Lot of users still don’t know, that they do not necessarily need a specific app like Skype for that (although it has its own advantages), because Google provides its own application called Hangouts.
Hangouts is not only a simple video chat application which acts like the facetime alternative, but it’s a seamless conversation builder starting from text to sharing images, links ideas, group chat then to video chat or a group conference (see video below).
Even being a free service its so good it kicks ass of almost major video conferencing tools. This is the most simple application both iOS and Android users can use to video chat with each other or a group of friends.
Facetime Alternative for Android, Tablet, iPhone, iPad, iOS
If you don’t have the Hangouts app yet, get it form the device you are going to use it from. It is supported on all devices even iOS devices like iPhone and the iPad along with Android for tablets and phones.
Once installed follow the steps below to use Hangouts on your device…
- Tap the Hangouts app icon in your phone to start the app or Click on the Hangouts icon in the top-right corner of the Google+ window.
- Select a person from the Hangouts list. The list is ordered with your most recent Hangout at the top. Or click the search button and type a name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name.
- If you want to start a group Hangout, check the boxes in front of multiple people’s names and click the chat icon to start a message or a video icon to start a video call.
- Choose the type of Hangout you want to start:
Text Conversations: Type the message you want to send in the text box that says Send a message and press the return key on your keyboard to send the message. To add a photo, click the camera button. To add emoji, click the smiley face. The typing indicator will show other people in the Hangout that you’re typing a message.
Video Call: Click the video call button to start a facetime like call. You can still participate in the conversation if you don’t have a web-cam.
- If you’re using the Chrome extension, Hangouts conversation windows started in Gmail or Google+ will open outside of the browser window.
Few images that show the usage.
A good this is that if you want to check other apps on your phone, the video get paused automatically, like if you go back to the android home screen but the audio will keep going so that you can continue with voice chat. This way you can talk and do stuff momentarily at the same time.
Hangouts also lets you just make an audio only call. This is cool since, if you are already on a wi-fi network you don’t need to spend on your network carrier’s call charges.
Note: In case you are attending a Hangout from your PC or Mac, you need a fully functioning microphone and a web-cam. For a more advanced guide about starting a hangout and more details go to the official hangouts guide or watch a video tutorial here.
You can also use Skype for Android and iOS in case if many of your friends use it.