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There’s A New Way To Use Google Hangouts In Your Browser

Google's messaging service finally gets its own website

chrome hangouts website

The new Google Hangouts Website

A new website lets you use Google Hangouts through the browser, no need to download an app, install an extension or open Gmail.

“We are launching another way to use Hangouts today,” Google’s Jordanna Chord announced on Google Plus.

“From our new site you’ll be able to take advantage of the best of Hangouts in the browser, along with an inspiring image to get you through the day.”

Features of Google Hangouts Website

The new Hangouts website works in (almost) any browser, including Microsoft Edge. You no longer need to keep Gmail or Google+ open, install an extension, plugin or Chrome App.

Just open the Hangouts website, log-in with your Google account and you’ll be able to access your existing chats or start new ones.

The photographic backdrop cycles through images every couple of minutes, not unlike the Chromecast. The hamburger menu hides a small set of options, including links to all the other ways you can use the messaging service.

Overall layout and appearance aside, all of Hangouts’ features work as you’d expect. You can open multiple chat boxes at the same time, take part in group conversations, and make voice or video calls (note: these last two may not work in all browsers).

To get started just point your browser of choice at either ‘talkgadget.google.com‘ or ‘hangouts.google.com‘.

Great Timing

The timing of the newly decoupled Hangouts messenger couldn’t be better for me.

At the tail-end of last month I tweeted this ask:

The answer is obvious: there was no way to use Hangouts inside the browser without opening Gmail (and seeing all the mails I should’ve replied to) or Google+ (and being distracted by cool things people share).

There are ways to use the messaging service outside of the browser, as many of my followers suggested.

‘The Hangouts Chrome App slows down my Chromebook’

And don’t get me wrong; I really like the Hangouts Chrome App, especially now it has a single-window mode option.

But using it slows down my Chromebook. When open it gifts my ancient, noisy Samsung Series 5 all the speed of a peanut running a marathon (as most ‘Native Client’ extensions and applications sadly do).

A true web client free of Gmail and Google+ (two resource intensive sites) was what I, and no doubt many others, wanted. Something like Facebook’s web-based ‘messenger’; a website, not a web app.

The online Google Hangouts experience doesn’t quite mimic the mobile apps but it does offer everything needed: all the features and functionality of Hangouts, inside my browser, free of other considerations.

(And on a slightly related note, is it telling that those I do speak to on Hangouts are also active Google+ users?)

Since being decoupled from Google+, ‘Google Photos’ has snowballed in popularity. Google will be hoping that the new Hangouts website gives its oft-forgotten messaging service a similar boost.

  • Communist

    I just want an installable application for windows/linux/osx, why can’t this be done?

    The main issue with the app is that I have to constantly have the window open for it to work, the main issue with the extension is that I need chrome open/running in background for it to work.

    Also for a call the app opens a new browser window still, and that’s such an inelegant way of going about calling.

    • You can still use an app like Pidgin or another chat client with XMPP support, and use the settings for Google Chat. However group chats don’t work, and pictures come through as links.

      • Communist

        And I don’t think calling functions either.

    • It’s a tough one.

      The Hangouts Chrome App isn’t ideal for some of the reasons you mention. But it does mean Google do not have to build and maintain and update and debug three separate apps across three separate operating systems.

      Windows 10 is a possible ‘in’ for one though (if adoption hits the heights current trends suggest). Facebook is already working on a Windows 10 Messenger app, I hear. Google won’t want to be left out, surely…

    • What’s the problem of having the Hangouts app open for it to work? Isn’t that obvious? Skype also has to be open, if you click on close it just minimizes it, and if you quit Skype it stops working too. Just keep with the Hangouts app minimized.

      • Communist

        System tray icons, and I’m running a tiling WM without minimization, if you have to minimize, you’re doing something wrong.

        There is no system tray icon for the hangouts app, meaning if I close it, it does nothing, also, you can under the advanced options enable the closing of the skype window, which minimizes it to the system tray.

  • Daviljoe193

    I still can’t do anything with it, just like QHangups, and the Chrome app, it doesn’t work with my account, which was made way before the Google Plus YouTube merging, then it got transferred to the new @pages.plusgoogle.com type of account, and this account type only seems to work on the Android app. With QHangups, the icon stays grey, and it stops working there. With the Chrome app, it times out, and that’s it. With the web version, the box where the messages would appear stays empty, and never changes. I can’t find anybody else with these issues. :(

    • Oh crikey!

      My advice would be to search/post in the Google Product Forums. There are lots of awesome “ninjas” there who should be able to help.

  • ….fantastic!

  • Communist

    Oh, thanks a bunch, that is rather helpful, or rather would be, if there weren’t a few other issues with the non-extension hangouts that needed fixing.

  • Communist

    My phone doesn’t have to be turned on for hangouts, I assume my phone has to be turned on for this, no?

    Also, hangouts calls people with my phone number, not a private one.

  • There, of course, is the hangouts chrome app. It’s awesome. The green quotation mark dot constantly hovering on you’re screen is always ready to send and receive(with notifications).??

  • Taurolyon

    I just wish they would develop a standalone, multi-platform hangouts app that doesn’t require chrome as a dependency.

    • That would be too much like right.

      • There is an good idea how U can earn ninty-five dollars each hour… After searching for a job that suits me for six-months , I started earning over this internet company and today I am verry happy. After 3 months doing this my income is around 5000 dollars/monthly If this interests you: 1)go to the website in description

  • The duplicated window popup in Gmail is such a pain.

  • Kristen mariposa

    Hmm. This isn’t true. I am using chrome on a friends ipad and its telling me I need to install hangouts. Guessing its only from a desktop computer that this works?