On Android, it's easy to set a custom ringtone for your contacts. Unfortunately, you couldn't do the same for their Google Hangouts messages. With the latest update to the app, you can set custom alerts on a per-conversation basis. Using a custom alert is helpful when you're preoccupied and not sure if you want to check your device to see who wants your attention. One tone can be used for your family, or close friends, and maybe another for your work contacts.
The update started rolling out yesterday, but if you don't have it yet you can either wait for it to reach you, or download and install the APK (Android package) from a third-party. If you're comfortable with the latter, you can get a copy from one of the mirrors provided by AndroidPolice.
Disclaimer: Installing software from a third-party website means taking risks with your device and/or personal information. You will be responsible for any issues caused by the installation or application itself.
Ready to set your custom alerts? Here's how:
Step 1: Open a conversation with someone for whom you want to set a custom alert in Hangouts and press the menu button. Choose People & options.
Step 2: Tap on Chat message sound or Call ringtone -- whichever you want to set first.
Step 3: Pick a sound for that contact from the pop-up list.
You may be wondering what happens if you set an alert tone for a friend, and then set a different one for a group chat they are partaking in, what will happen? Well, good news: the original alert tone will work for their individual messages to you, and when they use the group chat, the alert set for those will play instead.