Google Hangouts and TeamViewer are both strong tools for their respective tasks. Hangouts is a communications app whose primary feature is group audio and video calls. TeamViewer is primarily a screen sharing and remote access program. Both applications, however, have positioned themselves as a commercial video conferencing option. So, which is best?
Tip: Google Hangouts is being split into two apps, “Meet” and “Chat”, for video and text communications respectively. All previous functionality is still present, and both are included in the business-orientated G Suite.
A key argument for home users and businesses alike is the cost. The good news for home users is that both products are available for free, for non-commercial uses.
For businesses. TeamViewer licences are available for an annual fee between $749 and $2839 depending on the licence tier. The cheapest licence is for one user, with one connection at a time. The most expensive covers unlimited users, with up to three active connections at a time.
Google charge a monthly fee per user for access to G Suite which includes Google Hangouts. Prices range from to $6 to $25 per user per month. The G Suite licence, however, comes with access to a wide range of other Google products with which TeamViewer cannot compete.
In terms of price, there is no clear winner for home users. For businesses, the value of the cost really depends on how many users need access to the Hangouts functionality, and if the rest of the G Suite toolset can be utilized, thus saving costs on other licences, such as office software.
For free tier users, both TeamViewer and Google Hangouts offer a knowledge base and a community forum. TeamViewer also has email and phone support, along with online courses available for free.
Google Hangouts does provide an email, phone and live chat support service, but these are only available to paid users that have admin privileges.
The amount of support options available for free accounts is clearly better with TeamViewer. For paid accounts, the two products are much more similar. Google offers a little more flexibility with the Live chat option, but the non-free support options are only available to admin users, so TeamViewer wins here.
Both products advertise HD video and high-quality audio but neither publish actual data. Realistically the quality of both services will depend on the internet connection more than anything. Neither TeamViewer nor Google Hangouts have an advantage here.
Number of call members
TeamViewer can have up to 300 people in one video conference at once. Multiple users can display their screens at the same time in a tiled layout. Google Hangouts allows up to 25 free users to be in one video call. Paid accounts can have between 100 and 250 participants in a call depending on licence tier.
TeamViewer is ahead of Google Hangouts here, more users can be in a call at one time, although, Google’s offering is likely more than enough most of the time.
TeamViewer allows users in a video call to share files directly without having to use another tool. They also have an Augmented Reality (AR) service that allows users to provide remote support and directions for physical tasks.
Google Hangouts offers full integration with other G Suite software, assuming it is in use. The paid Infinity Platform from Pexip, allows Google Hangouts users to conference seamlessly with some other popular conferencing software tools, a potentially valuable feature for inter-business meetings.
Both platforms use strong encryption to secure all communications. TeamViewer, however, advertise that they use End-to-End encryption, which would stop even TeamViewer from being able to monitor communications.
Overall the two products are relatively similarly matched for home users. For business users, the main issue is likely use case. Specifically, if a business can make good use of the rest of the G Suite software included in the licence cost, then Google Hangouts is likely a solid option. However, if a company is only wanting a video conferencing solution, TeamViewer is likely a better choice.