Have you been looking for an alternative to Google Hangouts?
In these times, there is more need than ever for an easy-to-use, feature-rich, and efficient messaging app. For a long time, Google Hangouts has been a popular solution, both among personal users and businesses. However, a lot of its adoption has to do with users looking to remain in the overall Google ecosystem and some of its cons have been on display for a while.
Enter AirSend, a new alternative that has excellent features, a modern design and UI, and a simple, user-friendly workflow. In this blog post, we take a detailed look at how AirSend compares with Google Hangouts in terms of features and capabilities, user friendliness, and price. This analysis can help you with the relevant information and insight to make up your mind.
Google Hangouts Overview
Google Hangouts was created as a messaging platform that integrates easily with other products in the Google ecosystem. Its functionality has always been basic, with only a few new features added along its development cycle.
With Google Hangouts, you have the ability to have text-based conversations, either one-on-one or in a group. There is an option to integrate the SMS functionality of phones within the Hangouts app for a centralized display of messages. During the conversation, the rudimentary feature set allows for the sharing of photos and the use of emojis.
Google Hangouts Integrations
As far as integration with the ecosystem goes, Hangouts can be accessed from within Gmail, through dedicated mobile apps on Android and iOS, and from the Google Chrome desktop browser using a browser extension. The Hangouts API has been shut down and the version of Hangouts in the G Suite product portfolio has already been replaced with two separate applications – Google Meet and Google Chat.
Google Hangouts Voice and Video Calling
Users can directly audio call other Hangouts users and can even use the app for landlines and phones for an extra charge. Initially, the app had a live streaming component, but that was disabled and absorbed into YouTube in 2016. There is support for group audio and video calls for up to 25 users.
Google Hangouts Security
Apart from this very limited feature set, one important issue is that the platform does not use the open standard XMPP protocol, preventing third-party integrations. It has also received criticism for having key security issues, including a lack of documentation for the security design, no option for users to verify contact identities, and no support for independent code review.
The most important thing to remember about Hangouts is that it is being gradually phased out for newer solutions.
AirSend brings many modern features and functionalities to the table and is truly a collaborative tool thanks to its wide feature set. It implements the creation of public and private channels, the ability to share and organize files internally, a complete task management solution, and communication through audio and video calls.
AirSend has native integration with Office 365, allowing users to open and edit documents. It also has built-in email integration that allows for easy communication with users who are not on the platform. One of the most interesting features is the ability to create public channels that are accessible to anyone with a link, enabling them to easily be shared through email. This way, users can invite other users who are not on the platform to work inside AirSend without the need for complex permission management or administration.
AirSend’s built-in actions management system is well laid-out and efficient, preventing the need for third-party integrations to achieve the same functionality.
AirSend brings to the table a modern, minimalistic UI where all the important UI elements are prominent and accessible, making usage a breeze. The large text bar, located at the bottom of the screen, makes it easy to instantly start communicating without a learning curve. A dedicated file tab lets users browse through shared files in chronological order. Audio and video calls are also easy to accomplish with clearly marked designated buttons.
Similarly, the channel-based model allows for easy categorization of communication. Within each project-related or group-specific channel, users can easily create and manage tasks, have individual or group discussions, upload important files, and create a fully customized workspace. Moreover, AirSend can be used seamlessly through both the dedicated mobile app and on the web, with a fairly simple login process.
Google Hangouts UI
In comparison, the Google Hangouts UI feels dated and a little clunky, with several important options hidden behind obscure menus. While its integration with the broader ecosystem can make it accessible in various ways, the limited functionality and the dated design can definitely be a turnoff for those looking to use it regularly and for important work. Moreover, since it is on its way to being phased out, no major feature updates or UI enhancements are expected to occur.
Google Hangouts Pricing
Hangouts is free for individual users still using the legacy version of the product. For business users, a freemium model is employed. The free tier is limited to 100 participants at one time with 15GB storage per user. The basic business plan comes with a 14-day free trial and costs $8 for each active user monthly. This comes with a pooled storage of up to 2TB with 100GB available per user. These plans come with much-needed features like dial-in phone numbers and automatic cloud backup of meeting records. Pricing for the highest tier is decided on a case-by-case basis.
AirSend, on the other hand, has a free tier with no participation restrictions. 5GB of storage is on offer. The Pro plan brings 100GB storage and custom branding for $4 per month per user while the Business plan contains a host of added features and 2TB of storage for only $5 per month per user. Most importantly, AirSend is currently offering its Pro tier for one year for new accounts, entirely free, with the option of users signing up for multiple accounts.
While Google Hangouts continues its journey towards being phased out, it can be a great time to look for alternatives that bring modern features and better usability to the table. If the Hangouts experience and its close integration with the Google ecosystem is all that matters to you, it might still be viable. If anything else is your priority, a modern, full-featured solution like AirSend would definitely serve you better.
The AirSend team was recently interviewed by App of the Day! You can read the full interview here.