Windows/Chrome OS: Google’s Hangouts has become a great way to chat with your friends online, but chatting in a browser window is such a downer. Hangouts is finally available as a desktop Chrome app, so you can separate it from your precious tabs.
Right now, the app is only available on Windows and Chrome OS, but it looks quite nice. Hangouts runs in the background just like any other instant messaging app, notifying you when you have a new message, and letting you pop it open through its “chat heads” interface.
The app has some nice built-in conveniences, too. The chat head avatars always stay on top of other windows, so you can always see them — though you can turn this off if you don’t like it. Similarly, your chat windows will minimize themselves when the app isn’t active, which is a nice feature, but can be annoying when you’re trying to read incoming messages while in another window.
Of course, if you don’t like these things, you could always use a more traditional IM app like Pidgin instead — but it’s nice to see an IM app that does things differently, even if it isn’t for everyone. Check out the video to see it in action or click below to install it and try it out.
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