Camra chat

Video chat on smartphones has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time, and the tools available for Android have matured from gimmicky to genuinely useful.

Camra chat-34

Here's our new favorite pick, along with where the competition stands today.

Google Hangouts (formerly Google Talk on mobile devices, and just a web-based video chatting service inside of Google+) has exploded in the past few years it's been around to take the lead among free, web-based and mobile video chat services.

It dominated our poll for best video chat service, and the fact that it's essentially rolled in to Android and easily available on i OS makes it easy to get, simple to set up (since all it requires is a Google account), and easy to start using.

In many ways, in a few short years Google Hangouts has combined the best things about Google Talk with some of the best things about Google Voice into one application that—while it's not perfect—is hard not to love, or at least use frequently.

It also doesn't hurt that Google Hangouts is completely free.

Video hangouts, chats, picture and video sharing, all of it is completely free from the desktop or from your mobile devices, so you don't need to waste limited text or MMS messages from your carrier to communicate with your friends.

Just drop your images or your messages into Hangouts, and your friends will get them instantly.

They can even see when you're reading their messages, and you can see when they're typing.

Still, all of that is great, but video chat is where Hangouts really takes the cake.

In i OS and Android, Hangouts supports virtually every device and version, and you have the option of using your front or rear-facing camera in your video chat at any time.

Since video chats can be held with up to 10 people, you can communicate with large groups and collaborate on files (although this is much better on the desktop), or you can just turn an impromptu conversation into one that's much more personal since you can see the other person's face.

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