Is Google Hangouts Safe?
It’s no secret that the so-called messengers (applications for exchanging text messages over the internet) have long been a familiar component of our online activity. With their help, we share how our day went or what was for breakfast, along with more personal stories and secrets.
Find out the best chatting messengers here.
One of the most popular platforms for this was the service of the search giant Google called Hangouts. But can you trust this app with something meaningful?
Let’s find out is Google Hangouts safe or not.
All ways to communicate securely are listed here.
What is Google Hangouts?
Google Hangouts is a communication platform that ensures fast messages transfer between users. It is a Google-based app that provides built-in functions of making video and voice calls, messaging, and SMS feature.
The service presents such a combination of famous Google services that Hangouts has replaced: Google+ Messenger, Google Voice, and Google Talk.
The platform allows starting chat with someone whose number or email you know. Also, a person can use his contact list to find the needed people.
Can your Google Voice number be traced? Find out more here.
Google Hangouts features
What can Google Hangouts offer users? The list of its functions is now quite extensive, although at the beginning of its journey this messenger did not shine with functionality. Here are the main functions.
- High-quality video communication. The application allows you to call other users on the network and use the smartphone camera for this. There is also a convenient conference mode, which makes the program indispensable for distance learning and other activities of this kind.
- Free voice calls. Any user can call a person using Hangouts on their smartphone or computer for free. If you need to call the phone, then the standard billing is used.
- Text chat. Users can communicate using text messages. This is also free. There are various stickers and emoticons. Everything is the same as in other messengers.
- Syncing the history. The entire history of messages and calls is stored on Google’s servers. This makes it easy to restore it as a result of some unexpected failure. However, those who like privacy are likely to be dissatisfied with this.
- Caller ID. The application has an automatic caller ID. This is a very convenient thing if the messenger received a call from a mobile phone. You can identify the caller and decide whether to answer the call or not.
- Encryption and filtering of conversations (corporate version). Google provides high-quality traffic encryption in Hangouts for corporate clients. This will guarantee that the information will not fall into third-party hands.
- Syncing with Google Docs (enterprise version). In the messenger for corporate clients, there is also synchronization with Google documents. This is very convenient if you need to edit something quickly.
- Audio and video recording (corporate version). The user can always record a particular conversation. This is useful if any training was performed during the conversation – you can “reuse” the material.
This is the functionality of Hangouts. It is quite impressive. However, it’s time to talk about what versions of this messenger exist.
Google monitors you all the time! Find out the details here.
Available Hangouts versions
Previously, the messenger could only boast of options for Android and iOS. But as the project developed, other versions of the application appeared. Let’s look at those that are of particular interest.
- Android. The first version was for this platform. No wonder, because Google develops this OS. You can download and install Hangouts for Android from the official Google Play store in the standard way.
- iOS. The iPhone version appeared a little later. But even to this day, its functionality is somewhat reduced compared to the Android version. However, this is due to the limitations of the OS itself. Hangouts for iPhone can be easily found in the notorious App Store.
- Web version. This option does not require any installation at all. All you need to start using the service is a browser. However, this version of the messenger is very limited in functionality. So it’s better to use the app after all.
Advantages and disadvantages
Now, it is worth highlighting the pros and cons of this messenger to better understand how this application meets users’ needs and whether it is worth using it at all.
- Rich functionality.
- Syncing with Google servers.
- Encryption of outgoing and incoming traffic.
- Powerful security algorithms.
- Nicely designed interface.
- Competently implemented menu item.s
- No need to install the app (web version).
- High-quality video calls.
- Options of the standard messenger.
- Automatic caller ID.
- Requires a lot of RAM.
- Reduced functionality in the iPhone version.
- Small audience of users.
- Somewhat unusual interface.
- Messenger is difficult to configure.
To all the above, it should be added that there are many more advanced and popular messengers (like Viber). The main drawback of Hangouts is that it is unpopular. Accordingly, there is no one to communicate with there.
Is Google Hangouts safe to use?
Despite all the positive qualities of the application, it is still worth considering the security of its use.
As it turns out, Hangouts uses in-transit encryption. In short, there is still a chance for third parties to get hold of the details of your correspondence.
Hangouts messages are encrypted at their transmission, but once they get to the server, there is no longer any guarantee that they will remain safe. At the request of government agencies, Google will provide access to them. Hangouts has a “disable recording” function, but it only prevents the correspondence history from being saved. It will not provide additional encryption and data security.
Richard Salgado said that users’ messages in Hangouts are encrypted only during the transfer from the device to Google’s servers and other users. In this way, the authorities can access this data and monitor users if necessary.
“This makes it possible for Google to listen to users’ conversations at the request of law enforcement agencies, even if you enable the “disable recording” function, which only prevents the correspondence from being saved in your history, but does not provide additional security or data encryption,” Richard Salgado said.
How does Google track you? Learn more here.
The Hangouts application performs the standard set of functions of any messenger. Therefore, it does not have any special functions and cannot be called one of the best in this field.
In addition, Google Hangouts is not a secure messenger that provides confidential transmitted data.
Therefore, if you are interested in anonymity and a 100% data protection guarantee, it is better to look into Utopia P2P. This decentralized ecosystem ensures the anonymity, confidentiality, and security of users and all data. In addition, it has several built-in tools that provide fast message transfer, file transfer, anonymous surfing, internal financial transactions, and much more.
Read more about Utopia, its capabilities, and its comparison with other messengers here.