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How to Video Chat with Google Hangouts, Android’s Answer to FaceTime

Daniel Bean
Editorial Assistant
January 23, 2014

If you’re a true-blue Android user who happens to covet thy neighbor’s iPhone FaceTime video chat, we’re here to tell you that there’s actually no reason to be green with envy.

Green with Android pride is more like it!

We’re going to teach you all about Google’s own video chat service, Hangouts. The Hangouts app for either Android or iOS is more than capable of providing everything these iPhone folks get, including video chatting with iPhones. Here’s how to get started.

As with most everything Google makes these days, you’ll need to have an account with Google+ — Google’s social network service — activated, as well as the Hangouts app. If you have an Android phone, then you’re likely already signed up with Google+, and your phone probably came with Hangouts installed. To enable Google+, download the app from the Play store, open it and sign in with your Google account.

If your smartphone wasn’t preloaded with the Hangouts app, then you can grab that from the Play store as well. After you have it installed, it’s pretty simple to begin video chatting.

Upon launching the app, you’ll see a list of your contacts. You can either scroll down and select someone to begin a chat or video chat with, or you can search in the text input field above. The results shown will prioritize your phone’s contacts at the top, but it is possible to search throughout Google+ for chatmates.

With Hangouts, you can also select up to 10 people to video chat with in a session, a feature that FaceTime is notably missing (SadfaceTime).

Once you select a buddy or buddies, you’re taken into the chat screen. To begin a video chat, just tap the video camera button at the top of the screen. Then say “cheese.”

Much like FaceTime, Hangouts is also accessible from the desktop. But, unlike FaceTime, Hangouts’ computer access is provided via either the Gmail or Google+ websites, meaning that the service is available on Android and iOS, as well as any desktop format like Windows, Mac, Chrome OS or Linux. You just have to persuade your friend to download the app for her phone, or to create a Google+ account. 

So, FaceTime ShmaceTime, right? Be a proud Android user and get your video chat on all the same. Though, for best results, you might want to run a comb through your hair first (as you can see above, I clearly did not).

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