Your pros and cons of Google Hangouts


I’m currently reviewing our digital infrastructure, because we’re thinking of sorting out a single sign-on system.

One thing we use on a regular basis is Google Hangouts. I’d like to know the things you like and dislike about Google Hangouts.



  • I already have a Google account
  • I have the app on my phone
  • Many of our members already have access
  • Automatically logs a conversation
  • Make it easy to restrict who can take part


  • Not everyone wants to use Google products
  • The web interface is cramped by default
  • The expanded view is unattractive
  • You can’t use it without a Google account


As simple as it is to use, I don’t think it’s discoverable enough.

For example, this forum can be viewed without logging in. You’re free to browse and get a sense of the community before even creating an account. I know “lurking” gets a bad wrap, but I think it’s a good thing in online communities. It allows newcomers to get acclimated before jumping in.

Hangouts is easy to use, but as far as I can tell is invite only. This effectively kills the discoverability and “lurking” aspect.

Unfortunately, I think most online chat systems will require you to register an account before viewing content. I would just prefer one that doesn’t also force you to be invited.