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Google Hangouts OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Google Hangouts is #7 ranked solution in top Virtual Meetings tools. IT Central Station users give Google Hangouts an average rating of 8 out of 10. Google Hangouts is most commonly compared to Blackboard Collaborate:Google Hangouts vs Blackboard Collaborate.
What is Google Hangouts?

Hangouts Chat makes it easy for teams to be able to get their work done in one place. From direct messages to group conversations, Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently.

Google Hangouts Buyer's Guide

Download the Google Hangouts Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Google Hangouts Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Google Hangouts pricing:
  • "This solution is available for free with the opening of a Google account."
  • "We are using the free version of Google Hangouts."

Google Hangouts Reviews

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BT
IT Manager at a transportation company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Screen sharing feature ties in with Google Docs and Google Sheets so that we can work on a single document as a whole group of us at once

Pros and Cons

  • "The screen sharing is the most valuable feature. It ties in with Google docs and Google sheets so that we can work on a single document as a whole group of us at once. That's the biggest feature we rely on."
  • "The way it works with anonymous users should be improved. That could be strengthened to let anonymous users do more."

What is our primary use case?

We're a very distributed environment. We are a group of trucking companies and we're spread out across Western Canada. We've got about 20 offices with about 250 people right across 20 offices and communicating with each other is very important and so we use Google Hangouts. It provides inter-company communication, primarily for meetings and things like that. It has reduced cell phone bills and all those sorts of things.

What is most valuable?

The screen sharing is the most valuable feature. It ties in with Google docs and Google sheets so that we can work on a single document as a whole group at once. That's the biggest feature we rely on. Other than that, it's quick communication. You can send a quick chat message if you need or you can have a long video call conference if you need as well. It is flexible. It's a very good all-around solution.

What needs improvement?

The way it works with anonymous users should be improved. That could be strengthened to let anonymous users do more.

If we could get the person that we call that doesn't have a Gmail account and to screen share would be helpful. There have been times when I actually wanted to do remote control through Google and that would be really helpful too. That would help support a lot too. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using it for around five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. We have around 150 users who use it every day. 

It's at least half of our company that uses it pretty regularly. Our users range from data entry clerks who use the chat function to ask quick questions of their counterparts, dispatchers who communicate with other dispatchers inside that company. Managers use it for their weekly calls. It's really every level of our organization uses it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before Hangouts we were using a regular teleconferencing solution where we would dial the number of a code and we would pay a bill every month for the number of minutes we used. We've never used a solution like Hangouts.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is complex. There are many settings buried in the Google Admin that are hard to find. It can be a pain. 

It took about a year to get people into it and to set it to the way we wanted it. It required constant tweaking.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on our investment and we're all very satisfied with it. I just prefer to pay what I used to.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This time last year I would've said the pricing is fantastic but Google increased their pricing recently and so our costs doubled. I don't think it's as cost-effective as it used to be. I would say it's sort of in the middle as far as cost-effectiveness now. It's the other things that come with Hangout that make it valuable. Part of its value is that it's got a whole suite of tools. I do in fact recommend it to people because of that. 

What other advice do I have?

The one piece of advice I would is to be prepared regarding who else is going to use Hangouts outside of your organization. If you want people to be able to use a phone number, you have to pay for a whole different license with Google, your whole Google license has to be upgraded. Granted it has lots of other features. The dial-in feature to Hangouts is only accessible in the business class of G suite. 

If it's only your company that is going to use it, then you're great at the regular license level. But if you think you're going to have people who are required to dial in, then you need to be prepared to pay more.

I would rate it an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
KD
Testing Center of Excellence - Head at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to use and integrates well with Google suite

Pros and Cons

  • "It is very easy to use and is available as soon as you open a Google account."
  • "I would like to see support for showing virtual backgrounds."

What is our primary use case?

I use Google Hangouts for both chat and online meetings.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the seamless integration with Google Suite. For example, in Google Calendar, if you set a meeting then it will automatically prepare the google Meet or Google Hangouts meeting for you.

It gives you the ability to make online presentations, and there is a little-known tool that allows you to use it as a remote desktop.

It is very easy to use and is available as soon as you open a Google account.

The recently added noise-cancellation feature works well.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see support for showing virtual backgrounds.

A better resolution that is capable of showing hi-resolution videos would be useful.

The capability of transferring files through chat, other than just images and videos, would be useful. There are some workarounds for it, but they are not as robust as the other features. Most other messenger allows you to send files through chat.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Google Hangouts for several years, since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I use it every day and the stability is pretty good. It has never quit on me except in the case where my internet connection was down. Basically, if you have a working internet connection then it's up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not tested the scalability, but I have been part of meetings with more than 100 participants. My understanding is that it can handle up to 250 concurrent users in a meeting. For our purposes at work, it has been good.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never been in contact with technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I also use Zoom and Microsoft teams, although not as extensively as Hangouts. Zoom allows you to show a virtual background, which is a nice feature. Also, most other messengers support sending generic files through chat, whereas Google Hangout supports sending images and videos only.

One problem with Zoom is that you can only have chats when you're in a video conference, whereas with Hangouts, it's real-time. The chat box is always there. I have never used the chat feature in Microsoft Teams.

I have not explored the integration between Teams and Microsoft Office.

How was the initial setup?

Running Hangouts for the first time is pretty seamless. Once you have a Google account, there is no setup that is needed. You simply log in and it's there.

What about the implementation team?

It was easy to set up on my own.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This solution is available for free with the opening of a Google account.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is looking to start using Google Hangouts is that it is plug-and-play, and comes free with Google Suite. The minute you have a Google account, it's already there. It is easy to use and works right out of the box.

Having more than 100 people in a meeting is pretty good.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Google
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Google Hangouts. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
553,954 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Shubham Golghate
Product Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Video conferencing that is of good quality and is easy to use, but scheduling meetings is not part of the package

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are that you don't have to create a separate account, it's easy to use, and you don't have to enter an ID or password to start video conferencing."
  • "Google Hangouts restricts you to those with a Gmail account."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use cases of this solution are virtual meetings with colleagues and video conferencing with friends.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that you don't have to create a separate account, it's easy to use, and you don't have to enter an ID or password to start video conferencing. This is because it is already in your Google account.

What needs improvement?

Connectivity and voice clarity is good. If I had to rate it out of ten, I would give it an eight. However, there were times when I used Google Hangouts on my phone and the voice quality was bad.

The back button functionality needs to be improved. When you hit the back button, you get out of the meeting. What should happen if you are in a meeting and you press the back button is that you would still be in the meeting but you would be able to see the other available features of your phone or use other apps. With Zoom, you are able to do those things.

They don't have a way to schedule a meeting as you with other solutions. If you compare it to Zoom, in that product you can schedule a meeting and send a link to others. The option it provides is to start a meeting then to invite or add. If you don't know their Gmail address then you can't invite them to join.

Google Hangouts restricts you to those with a Gmail account.

It's not easy to share. If you are with Zoom there is not share or deny, you send a link and they will be able to join you. It's made to be simple.

Once Google Hangouts is launched you are able to start meetings. Your contacts are all listed but only Google Hangouts contacts are available. If someone does not have Google Hangouts then there is no way to invite them to the meetings.

The UI is good, but the transaction needs improvement. The flow from jumping from one screen to another is a bit complicated.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used Google Hangouts for approximately two months.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never contacted technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I stopped using Google Hangouts about a month ago. I now use Zoom or Google Meet for video conferencing. Google Hangouts is complicated and there are many solutions on the market that are more simplified, which is the reason I stopped using it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's easy and fast. Depending on your internet speed, it only takes a few minutes.

What other advice do I have?

I would not recommend this solution. They have Google Meets, which does the same as Google Hangouts and it has more features. I would advise them to use Google Meets instead.

I would rate this solution a six out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Google
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Florent ADODO
IT Assistant at Hotel 2 Fevrier
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Has the ability to connect through your phone and computer

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to share a screen during a meeting is one of the most valuable features. You can also be directly connected on the computer and on the phone with the same account. It is flexible."
  • "We purchased a videoconference system called Zoom. We want to see if Google Hangouts has the ability to integrate our Zoom device to use it with Hangouts and meet directly."

What is our primary use case?

We have a group of people that uses Google Hangouts. We chose Google Hangouts because most of the users are on Google and we don't want to use WhatsApp. We publish things like documents for all the members who are on it. I can use WhatsApp, but I prefer Google Hangouts because with Google Hangouts we can directly share our screen. If you have two or three on Google Hangouts directly, someone can share their screen, and you can see what he's doing.

What is most valuable?

The ability to share a screen during a meeting is one of the most valuable features. You can also be directly connected to the computer and on the phone with the same account. It is flexible.

What needs improvement?

We purchased a videoconference system called Zoom. We want to see if Google Hangouts has the ability to integrate our Zoom device to use it with Hangouts and meet directly. I would like for Hangouts to have a professional cloud service in which people will be able to connect the device up to and need not to go through another competitor. I'd rather just use one single service. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Google Hangouts for five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If someone is using Zoom and is using Skype, the two devices can be connected directly, there is no need for a license. If someone is using Skype and issues a Google Hangouts conference code or a Meet conference code, you are not able to dial with the two devices. Skype and BlueJeans, also work together but Google and Skype directly do not. 

We have around 100 users using Hangouts in our company. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Our support is based out of Kenya. They're good. If you have any issues, it will take them around two days to resolve it. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Per user, we are paying $50 a month. 

What other advice do I have?

Most of the companies are going to Microsoft products but Google is easier to use.

Google is a good product but it'll be better if they fix some videoconference issues. With Microsoft, you can integrate all of your devices. With Logitech and other companies, you can connect it directly through the cloud and you can use it directly, no need to go for another supplier. But with Google, you need to go with another supplier.

I would rate it an eight out of ten. 

In the next release, I would like the ability to videoconference with a connectivity plugin.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ME
Technical Lead at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Reliable group meetings with automatic focus on the speaker

Pros and Cons

  • "The group chat is a very good feature, where you can see all of the participants on cameras."
  • "I would like to see more focus on features for interacting with the participants in a group chat, such as screen sharing."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Google Hangouts for video meetings and group chat sessions.

How has it helped my organization?

All of our employees are using this solution and it allows them to easily catch up and keep in touch with each other.

What is most valuable?

What I like best is that once a person starts speaking, you will see immediately who it is.

The group chat is a very good feature, where you can see all of the participants on cameras.

Online sessions are reliable and there are almost no glitches.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more focus on features for interacting with the participants in a group chat, such as screen sharing. This would be great.

Having an option for participants to ask questions, like a "raise hand" feature, would be helpful because as it is now, they have to send a message and I have to watch for it. The message might be private for me or sent to the entire group but either way, I have to watch the list of participants all of the time for these messages.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Google Hangouts for more than six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The reliability is very good because there are almost no glitches.

It is more stable than other products.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have 130 employees in the company and all of us use Google Hangouts. However, I have only used it for sessions with 12 participants. With this number of people, it was fine. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in contact with Google's technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have been working extensively with products like Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Webex to finish various projects. I find that Google Hangouts is more reliable than Zoom. On the other hand, Webex has more features available for interacting with the participants.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are using the free version of Google Hangouts.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Google
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Mahathir Mohiuddin
Senior Executive at Divine IT Limited
Real User
Top 5
Excellent voice and video clarity without time lag issues

Pros and Cons

  • "Very good voice and video calling options."
  • "Sending documents and other things is not an option."

What is our primary use case?

We use Google Hangouts as our major mode of communication. I'm a senior executive and we're a user of the solution. 

What is most valuable?

I like the voice and video calling options because I feel that Google Hangouts has more voice clarity and video clarity than Skype most of the time. It may even be better than Zoom which sometimes lags and tends to crash quite often. 

What needs improvement?

I'm not completely happy with the message options in Hangouts because for now it's only possible to send pictures, which is unfortunate because I would also like to be able to send documents and other things. I also think that because we've all become very used to using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, I think they could also include a reply option. 

I sometimes find that the topic that I want to speak to a particular person about, or the topic that we spoke about gets lost among all the words. A reply button would enable me to physically save certain information. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Google Hangouts for a couple of years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution. I'm enjoying using it. It's all part of Google, so I'm seldom disappointed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I believe scalability is excellent. They should continue the way they have been and maybe developing some of the features mentioned earlier but scalability is good. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Like most people, we also use WhatsApp. We've become used to using it for personal and professional purposes. We have lots of groups in our company and among our colleagues where we use WhatsApp for a specific department or specific project. We use both, but I believe Google Hangouts is the perfect place for professionals to come together and work. It's a perfect collaboration space.

What other advice do I have?

I would give this solution a perfect score if they could tweak some of the issues they have such as the messaging. Other than that, I think it's a great product. 

For now, I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Gonzalo Cuatrecasas
CIO at OCA Global
Real User
Top 20
Easy to use, integrates well, and the session recording is useful

Pros and Cons

  • "The ease of navigation is good, as we can easily share data and screens."
  • "The algorithm should be improved to automatically deal with poor connections in a better way."

What is our primary use case?

We use Google Hangouts for virtual meetings.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are integration with the calendar and video conference equipment.

The ease of navigation is good, as we can easily share data and screens.

The session recording feature is useful.

What needs improvement?

There is a significant problem with performance when you have a poor connection. In these cases, it does not do a very good job of stopping the video automatically. The algorithm should be improved to automatically deal with poor connections in a better way.

In the future, we would like to have support for multiple speakers at the same time.

We would like to have a registry of attendance created automatically to show us who is in the session.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Google Hangouts for more than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When you have somebody that is in a place with a poor connection, the performance is not as good. While this must be a problem with all of these products, I think that the algorithm should stop the video automatically when somebody has a poor connection.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have been in contact with technical support, although not for the issue of boosting performance by compensating for a poor connection.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have used Polycom and Skype. We found that Polycom is very good but it is very expensive and not for the masses. We found that Skype was very good as well, except that it doesn't integrate with your collaborative tools.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is not to try anything else if you are already using Google Suite as your collaborative tool in the company. Basically, if you are using G-Suite then you should be using Google Hangouts because it works.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Mubashar Hanif
Network Administrator at Lahore Garrison university
Real User
Top 10
video conferencing features enable more than two or three people to be connected at a time but it should have meeting reminders

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are the chat features and the video conferencing features that enable more than two or three people to be connected at a time."
  • "There should be more space for multiple users at a time so that multiple people can connect, can share, and even transfer control to another colleague, employer, student, etc."

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the chat features and the video conferencing features that enable more than two or three people to be connected at a time.

What needs improvement?

There should be more space for multiple users at a time so that multiple people can connect, can share, and even transfer control to another colleague, employer, student, etc. 

Another feature I want to add is a meeting date to schedule meetings or if I want a meeting after two days, I would like to have a reminder and a note.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Google Hangouts for ten years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The current version is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. We have around 1,500 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't use technical support. We are multiple users and we have more features than other colleagues. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also use Zoom. Zoom has more control options than Google Hangouts because a presenter can give control to another colleague or student. If anyone wants to ask any question, they can raise their hand to ask a question, can send a message or can ask the presenter to give them control, or they can annotate at a certain time. They have more features. We can also send voice messages with Zoom.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a six out of ten. The security is already there but there should be more ability to share features. The other feature they should include is Zoom control; if one colleague wants to give control to another, there can be two, three or four sharing their presentations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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