First off, if you’re using G Suite or a Gmail account but don’t know about Hangouts, you’re missing out! It sits in the bottom left corner of your Gmail browser window and will notify you when someone messages you using it. (If you’re not accessing your Gmail through the web browser, we should talk about that, too!) The interface is fairly straightforward. The only thing I recommend is that if you want to do voice or video calling with Hangouts, then do it over at the main Hangouts URL. Trust me, videoconferencing works much better over there.
Even without the conferencing elements, it works great as an Instant Messaging (IM) app. Try installing it on your phone, too. If you work with others in your G Suite organization, it becomes a great way to quickly communicate with your teammates. It also avoids clogging up your Inbox in the process. You can still search your email for everything from your teammate and it will show your Hangouts messages in the results. This way, you can avoid texting teammates and losing the paper trail later, which is very helpful.
Now here’s the fun part about Hangouts: if you work with other companies who you know use G Suite or Gmail, you can use Hangouts with them too! Everything that makes Hangouts a great tool applies to these companies as well. How do you do this? Simply click the ‘+’ in the app to start a new conversation. Remember, you can do this easily from your Gmail web browser window as well as mobile apps. Then type in the person’s email address, and send them an invite to chat on Hangouts. Let them know that you sent them an invite to avoid startling them, though!
Once they accept, you’re able to chat with that person whenever you want. This usually means you can communicate with them faster, which saves you time. And we all know that saves you money. So think about this free tool, burning a hole in your pocket, the next time you find yourself drafting “a quick email” to a coworker. And maybe try using Hangouts instead.