Google Hangout Tips and Tricks
There are many Gmail users out there who have access to Google Hangouts on a regular basis, but do not even realize. Hangouts is the default IM client in the browser in Gmail (or Google, if you’re weird) for many years, but many users refer always to the name of its less versatile predecessor, Google Chat (or colloquially “Gchat”).
GChat is dead, people.
Of course, Gmailers who absolutely need the old-timey Gchat-esque experience in their life can always click on the “Revert to old chat” via the arrow next to their name in the chat list. But why do something stupid like that when the full Hangouts on so many cool things to offer? (There was even a large number of features I-hangout-er-veteran discovered during the writing of this feature.)
Over the years, various Google functions of communication have been integrated into the largest Hangouts environment (eg Google Talk, Google Voice). Google Hangouts has since expanded into a multifunctional, poly-screen, multi-platform (and cross-OS) chat client. In the future, Hangouts can evolve into a mobile communication platform uber even greater, which will handle all your text messages and voice calls as well.
While mobile is certainly what the devs at Google have in mind for the future Hangout, do not overlook some of the cool things you can do in the desktop version now. Visit our list of little known treasures. There are certainly some cool things you did not know.
1) Draw a Doodle
I’m really old, so I do not use Snapchat. However, I know that one of the features that people enjoy this service is the ability to draw humorous doodles. I’m told it’s fun. Well, you can do the same in Hangouts, even if this function is curiously hidden.
For your Hangout doodle on, place your mouse over the image icon (the small mountain scene in the lower right of the chat box) and it will be a pencil icon directly to his left. (Seems unnecessarily complicated, right?) Click the pencil icon and it will open a workspace that you can use to “draw” simple line images. You can choose a number of brush sizes, shapes, colors, and quantities of transparency.
Click “Send” and the doodle will appear in the main message window. Then all participating Hangout will be able to “change” the image by placing the mouse over the image to request a small pencil clickable icon in the top right corner. Each change will create a new image that will be pasted below. You can have a doodle ongoing conversation in which each new addition will be saved in the window of the main message.
Note: In the doodle window, you will find a small camera icon in the top corner to the right, giving the impression that you should be able to add a photo and scribble on top of that. I could not run it through the window. HOWEVER, if you add a first image (we’ll get to that below), you have the opportunity to scribble on top of that.
2) Say it with a Emoji
Why would you ever choose to say something with words, while you might say with a cute little cartoon character? I can not think of a reasonable answer to this question. Fortunately, Hangouts lets never enter a password again. Seriously, there are enough emoji available here to represent anything in the spectrum of human experience.
To access this vast library emoji, just hit the smiley face in the lower left corner of your chat input box to reveal a pop-up window. In the upper part you will see various sets of toonbits sometimes lively for you to choose (you can hit the down arrow on the right for more games).
Then just click on any emoji, and it will be added to your conversation. Once he was placed in the convo, you can even scribble on top of this emoji-just move your mouse over the emoji to invite the pencil icon in the corner and click on that to change the image.
Unfortunately, Hangouts does not seem to allow you to use multiple emoji on a line every single toon is automatically placed on its own line. So for now, you can not string together complex sentences emoji.
3) Pretty as a picture (or gif)
You can also add images directly into your Hangouts conversations from a variety of sources. Just click on the small mountain scene in the corner lower right. This will open a pop-up window with a number of top options tabs. Here is a quick run down of your input sources:
- “Add Photos” is where you can search a file from your computer or drag-to-upload.
- “Auto Backup” refers to all the photos you’ve allowed Google to automatically suck from your Android device in its data giant hole.
- “Photos” means something new photos uploaded to Google unlimited service from Google.
- “Albums” are images organized from various locations, including past conversations with specific people.
- “video search” allows you to search for links to YouTube videos (not the actual videos, mind you, just a rest and a link.
- Web cam” allows you to take still pictures from your web camera to send to people.
And of course, you can scribble on top of one of these images as detailed above. (Well, the fixed-Hangouts images do not allow you to scribble on top of an animated gif.)
4) Video Chat
See this little camera icon in the top left corner? You can click to open a video chat window. In the new pop-up screen, you’ll be able to enter the link in the upper right corner and add new people to your video chat. Also, if you hover your mouse on the left side of the screen you will see a bunch of other cool tools like “Google Effects”, which allow you to ad fun animations on top of a live video stream . Note: You will need to download a free plug-in for your browser Hangouts to access a video chat.
5) Call a phone from your computer
Hangouts allows you to make phone calls from your browser about a number in the world (with some limitations). Most calls within the US or Canada are completely free, but you have the option to set up a call credit to pay for international calls.
To make a call, simply click on the phone just above your chat window icon (if you’re an Android user, you will already have access to the Hangout friends phone numbers stored in your phone).
6) Group Hangouts
You want to bring a few more people in your conversation? In an open chat window, click on the little person icon with the plus sign in the upper left corner and it will open your contact list. Just check the boxes for additional people you want to include and they will all be invited to join.
Google developers have too much time on their hands. I think this is the case because they Softwired a number of pointless animated Easter Eggs completely in Hangouts, which are encouraged by certain phrases. We have compiled a comprehensive list, but here are some fun ones you might want to try….. .
8) Know your options
If you click the little gear icon in the top right corner of your chat window, you’ll be able to requisition certain settings for your communications with that specific user. For example, you can enable or disable the option to receive notifications to disable, or select whether to keep a detailed record of history Hangout. You even have the ability to block the person directly from this window.
Also, if you access Gmail via Hangouts (Tips and Tricks for Google Hangouts ), you can access the main parameters by the small down arrow next to your name on top of the chat list on the left. Here you can set your status, mute notifications for some time, or view your blocked and hidden contacts.