Recently, Google unveiled their first Google-branded smartphones, the Pixel, and the Pixel XL. While on paper, the hardware is fairly consistent with other current high-end Android flagship devices, the camera is reportedly the best smartphone camera ever made, and aside from the hardware specifications, it’s the software that really sets the Pixel series apart. The Pixel and Pixel XL will come with Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, and also include Google Assistant, the company’s new voice-activated assistant that will answer questions in a human way and perform certain tasks on the devices. Additionally, it will offer free unlimited backup storage for photos, saved at their original quality. While the Google Photos app is available for any modern Android device, owners of other devices only have the option to either backup their photos at their original quality which will use their Google Drive space, or backup images at a limited resolution for no additional charge.
With such a heavy focus on software, it may come as a surprise to some that Google has chosen to omit one of their popular (and typically preinstalled) apps, Hangouts. Google may have made the decision to not include Hangouts on the Pixel and Pixel XL as a means of encouraging users to take advantage of their new communication apps Duo and Allo. Duo and Allo work a bit differently from Hangouts and are linked to a user’s phone number rather than their Google account information. However, there are a number of drawbacks, such as the new apps, particularly the fact that, since each installation of the app is tied to the phone number of the device on which it is installed, there is no cross-platform synchronization like there is with Hangouts.
Fortunately, for those who prefer Hangouts to Duo and Allo, there is a way to get Google Hangouts installed on your Pixel device. To do this, pull down the notification menu and find Settings, then Apps. Next, find Hangouts on the list and tap the button that says enable. You will now have the ability to use Hangouts on your pixel device instead of Duo and Allo. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to start using Hangouts on your pixel smartphone.