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Given the fact that Hangouts is all set to stop being a consumer-friendly messenger application in favor focusing on business / corporate settings, I was wondering if someone could recommend an alternative with the following features that Hangouts has and I love:

1. Cross-platform: I want to be able to send and receive messages -- Text, emoji, pictures and video. Stickers too, preferably, but not a must -- from my (Android) phone, or my (Windows) computer.

I also want to be able to make and receive audio and video calls on any device, made from any device.

2. Auto-Start: I want the Windows client to run at startup and stay in the background.

Hangouts depended on Chrome to do this as it was an official App on the store, which I didn't really like because having even one process of Chrome on my computer chews up my memory, so I would like it if the alternative was an independent software.

3. Chat-head: I also want the Windows client to have a chat-head feature, or at least something close to it. Something that'll stay on the screen all the time, always on top, tucked neatly away into some corner, with popups whenever I get a message. And when I click on it, it opens a chat window right there, which I can minimize back into a chat-head, or have it auto-hide, when I get back to my work. Here's an image of what I mean: Hangouts The UI has changed a lot since, but you get the idea.

4. Lightweight: Another important thing is that, ideally, the Windows client will be fairly lightweight. Like I mentioned above, Hangouts was was pretty system-taxing to run, and I really don't want another application sharing that trait, but I do understand that the features I want would be hard to implement while still keeping the software "light".

5. Push Notifications: I want the Android app to get instant push notifications. This is probably unnecessary specifically state for I imagine most apps nowadays of this sort use Push by default, but I just wanted to make sure.

6. History: I want all messages (ideally including the media, but not a strict must) to be stored in history indefinitely, preferably with a search feature through some means, so I can go back and read through old messages. It would be fantastic if I could make/download backups of the history for myself, to keep the messages/memories even more secure through my own cloud backups.


These are all the things I can think of right now. Really appreciate any and all help!

  • What do you mean by "Hangouts is all set to stop being a consumer-friendly messenger application in favor focusing on business / corporate settings". Is this what Goggle is saying, or speculation? – Yisroel Tech Jan 31 '17 at 14:02
  • Hello, it's true none of the messaging applications satisfy me after MSN. I used Miranda IM for sometime however most of the messaging protocols don't allow these kind of softwares nowadays. – onurcano Jan 31 '17 at 17:19
  • @YisroelTech Not speculation. – Nicholas Richards Jan 31 '17 at 18:23
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Have you perhaps considered Linphone?

Linphone is a VoIP application, which is very multi-platform (runs on MacOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone), and it hopefully might meet most of your requirements (it does audio and video calling, and messaging). As it doesn't use proprietary protocols, it should allow you to communicate with anyone who has a standard SIP account.

Unfortunately, it requires a little bit of setting up to work, and it doesn't appear to be particularly well-known (and so you may need to do some "marketing" to encourage your contacts to also try it), but it may be worth looking into.

  • Hint: For additional details on Linphone, also consult these answers on our site. For example, this one also has some screenshots (Android). – Izzy Jan 31 '17 at 14:30
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For the desktop side of things, check out pidgin - https://www.pidgin.im/

On my Linux desktop I'm using ICQ contacts (I have a 7 digit ID number...), AOL IM contacts (for one person who still uses AOL), SIPE/Office Communicator, and Google Hangouts. Lots of other supported network types.

Then the problem becomes - what network do you want to use for your contacts, etc. And what app on the phone systems support that network. I know there are ICQ clients for Android, but I don't do apps on my phone (other than call, photos, and browser)

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I see that Signal Messenger, in addition to iOS and Android, is now also available as a desktop program for MacOS, Linux (Debian-based distros), and Windows.

Signal Desktop

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