Google hasn't always made it easy to manage multiple accounts that you use regularly. This is especially true if you use the desktop versions of their apps and even more so if you use multiple computers.
Lately I've been working on getting my messaging through Google Hangouts set up a little better and it wasn't immediately obvious how to do that, so I thought I'd share the setup works best for me and a quick tutorial on how to be signed in to two or more Hangouts accounts at once.
Originally, I tried using third party messaging apps like Adium to add all of my accounts, but you end up losing out on a lot of the features of Hangouts and I found it to be unreliable and would randomly disconnect my account. The official Hangouts clients seemed like a better solution to me, so I switched to that.
Personally, I find the latest iteration of the Hangouts Chrome Extension to be much better than its predecessor. The old version did not play well with multiple monitors on my desktop computer and it was too invasive of the screen space on my laptop with only a 13-inch display. I tried using multiple Gmail windows in Chrome and popping out conversations, but that method has the same issue as the old extension regarding screen space and windows getting lost in the clutter. I instead switched to the Chrome App version of Hangouts, but Google announced in August that they are doing away with Chrome Apps entirely (granted it's not until 2018 that they'll actually be put to rest). Fortunately, they've changed the Hangouts Extension to be essentially the same as the Chrome App.
What I've found to be the best solution is to use the Hangouts Extension along with Chrome's ability to have multiple users signed in to have multiple Hangouts accounts open simultaneously. This method will not merge your conversations from multiple accounts into one window, but in my situation I find that preferable.
Setting Up Multiple Hangouts Accounts with Chrome
- Sign into Chrome with one of your accounts and install the Hangouts Extension:
- Open a new Chrome window and click on the button with your name up in the top right corner of Chrome and select Switch Person.
- Then click Add Person and sign into your other account.
- Install the Hangouts Chrome Extension again in the new window under your second Google account.
You can now launch the extension in each window by clicking the green Hangouts icon next to your URL bar and you'll have one Hangouts window per account. You can safely close your chrome windows without worrying about losing your chat windows.
Similarly on Android, you can go into the Hangouts app and click the sandwich in the top left, click your name at the top and select Add account to sign into another hangouts account there. You will get notifications from both, but it will not merge your conversations, you'll have to manually switch back and forth between accounts.