Google Hangouts Android tips and tricks

androidpit google hangouts hero 3 
Read on to find out how to snooze notifications, merge your SMS messages, protect your account from strangers, and more.

Sync hangouts with your email

Did you know that you can view Hangouts messages in Gmail, just like regular emails? If you access your Gmail inbox from a web browser and click the 'More' button the left-hand side, you will see a 'Chats' option. Click on this to see a list of your Hangouts conversations in email format. 
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Tap on the Chats button to view all of your Hangouts conversations within Gmail. / © 
From here you can respond to conversations, label them, star them, and even conduct searches through them; it provides many more possibilities than using the Hangouts app alone.

Hide sensitive content

If you're using Hangouts on Lollipop, then anyone who gets hold of your phone might see snippets of new conversations on the lock screen. To stop this, go to Settings, tap Sound & Notifications, then App Notifications – choose Hangouts then toggle the Sensitive switch.
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Hide sensitive information from the lock screen. / 

Add SMS capabilities

You can use Hangouts as your default SMS client on Android if you wish to, and see text messages mixed in with standard IM conversations, where applicable. From the app menu, choose Settings, SMS and tap the top option to activate the feature (a confirmation dialog will appear on screen too).
androidpit hangouts sms app
You can use Google Hangouts as your SMS app

Change who can contact you

Trying to get your head around you can send you a Hangout isn't always easy, but you there is a way to both figure it out and control it. Go to Settings, tap your email address, then choose 'Customize invites' to decide who can message you directly and who can only invite you to chat.
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Choose who can and can't get in touch with you over Hangouts. / 

Snooze notifications

There might be times when you don't want to be disturbed by Hangouts conversations – if you're heading into the cinema, for example, or you're about to go to sleep. From the main app menu, tap Snooze notifications and then choose a 'do not disturb' period from one hour to three days.
androidpit hangouts snooze
Turn off notifications for a while. / ©

Set up the widget

The Hangouts home screen widget might look fairly ordinary but it's a handy way to view your conversations and check new messages without opening up the app. To set up the Google Hangouts widget, tap and hold on a blank area of the home screen, choose Widgets and then tap Hangouts.
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The Hangouts widget is worth a look. / © 

Send messages to your circles

Hangouts is tightly integrated with Google+ on mobile and the web and one way to take advantage of this close union is by sending out a message to all of the contacts in one particular circle. To do so, simply open the messages tab, tap the plus button (top right) and then start typing the name of a circle.
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Focus your messages on a certain group. / ©

Delete messages as you go

By default, Hangouts keeps copies of all your messages. This can be helpful, but if you'd rather clear up after yourself, delve into one of your conversations, tap the menu button (three vertical dots) and choose 'Turn history off'. Then the messages will be erased automatically after a certain time period.
androidpit hangouts history

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