Use Skype, Hangouts, and More With These Pidgin Extensions

Austin Luong 16-01-2017

Pidgin Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux] Pidgin is a free instant-messaging client that combines all your IM accounts in one simple application. Instead of running several different IM clients that display ads and eat up memory, just use Pidgin. All your... Read More is designed to let you use all your different messaging services in a single application. However, there is a bit of a problem with it: by default, the services it supports are ridiculously dated — AOL Instant Messenger anyone?


Fortunately, like many great open source programs, it has many extensions Pidgin - Tips and Tricks Read More that let us use more modern alternatives, such as Skype and Hangouts.

Why Use Pidgin?

Pidgin is essentially an alternative to browser-based messaging websites The 7 Best Chat Apps and Clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux From all-in-one messengers to dedicated chat clients, here are some of the best chat apps to use on Windows, Mac, or Linux. Read More , such as Skype Web. There are quite a few benefits to using a dedicated application, of which I’ll outline here.

It’s lightweight — Web browsers can take up gigabytes worth of computer memory Why Is Google Chrome Using So Much RAM? Here's How to Fix It Why does Google Chrome use so much RAM? What can you do to keep it in check? Here's how to make Chrome use less RAM. Read More . Pidgin by comparison takes up a tiny fraction of that: about 100 MB in my experience. Since it’s designed for the desktop, it also tends to be much faster than any web page can hope to be.

pidgin ram

It’s malleable — Don’t like how Pidgin looks? You can change its theme How to Install Skins on Your Instant Messaging Program Read More . Want different notification sounds? Just tell it what you want. Pidgin shines when it comes to configuration options. Thanks to its flexibility, it’s also better integrated with your system’s appearance.


Pidgin preferences

It’s versatile — In the beginning, Pidgin was designed as a way of using AOL Instant Messenger on Linux. From there, it branched off to support multiple different messaging services, such as IRC and XMPP. Fortunately for us, Pidgin supports extensions which when installed, allow us to modernize its functionality.

Some Caveats

Pidgin’s voice and video support are very limited. If you depend on using them, you may find them failing with Pidgin! While some Pidgin plugins work around this, not all of them do. Furthermore, while Pidgin does keep track of your future conversations, it won’t download ones from the past.

Getting Started

First things first, you’ll need to get Pidgin. Your Linux operating system may already have it by default. If not, enter this command to install it:

sudo apt-get install pidgin

After this is done, you can begin giving Pidgin some extra capabilities — MSN is not enough! Many of the plugins (namely, Hangouts, Telegram, and Skype) need to be installed through an unofficial repository.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu doesn’t supply these programs by default, so you’ll need to find a place that does What Is An Ubuntu PPA & Why Would I Want To Use One? [Technology Explained] Read More : a PPA.

If you’d like to use any of them on Ubuntu, type these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update

pidgin repository


Making Pidgin Work With Skype

Even though there are plenty of Skype alternatives 6 Open Source Messaging Apps More Secure Than Skype Skype has never been the most safe or secure communication protocol, and after Microsoft took over in 2011, concerns over privacy began to pile up. Can these secure, open source alternatives allay those fears? Read More out there, Microsoft’s offering remains extremely popular. Having added the repository in the previous paragraph, all you need to do is install the plugin:

sudo apt-get install purple-skypeweb

When prompted to add an account to Pidgin, if you click of the Protocol option box, you’ll be able to select Skype (HTTP) as one of your options. All you have to do is enter your username and password and you’re all set.

skype authentication

Making Pidgin Work With Google Hangouts

Install the Hangouts third-party plugin with:

sudo apt-get install purple-hangouts

Getting Hangouts to work is a little more complicated than Skype, unfortunately.

hangouts authentication

As you can see, Hangouts doesn’t ask for a password in the traditional sense. Instead, Pidgin will open up your web browser, and give you directions from there. It’s a little bit complicated, but the video that plays when you set it up clear enough to follow.

Pidgin and Telegram

Telegram Telegram Provides a Secure and Fast-Growing Alternative to WhatsApp Read More is an instant messaging service that takes pride in its security. Needless to say, it’s also very popular. To get it working in Pidgin, first install it with this command:

sudo apt-get install telegram-purple

Enter your phone number as your username. Keep in mind that you’ll need a + sign in front of your cellphone number, followed by your country code. For example, if you live in the United States, your username will need a +1 in front of it.

pidgin telegram gui

Like Hangouts, Telegram is a little more complicated to set up. Once you’ve added your account, you’ll receive an SMS code to your phone. Enter the code that pops up to log in.

telegram login

How to Use Facebook Messenger With Pidgin

If you look at all the different protocols Pidgin supports, you’ll see an entry called Facebook (XMPP). In the past, this used to work, until Facebook changed their messaging service up. When Pidgin 3.0 is released, Facebook Messenger will work out of the box.

For now, you need to install another plugin How To Use Facebook Messenger on Linux Facebook chat on Linux took a hit when Facebook shut down XMPP in April 2015, leaving Pidgin users with Facebook integration unable to chat. Here's how to change that, with a new Pidgin plugin. Read More . To do this without compiling it, add another repository:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jgeboski.list

Since this package isn’t located in a PPA, you need to manually tell our package manager where it is. Do this by adding in this line to our new file:

deb ./

facebook repository

Afterwards, use Ctrl + X to save your changes.

If you’re using an older version of Ubuntu, you might have to change the bold area of the command to get the right package. This means specifying the correct Ubuntu version. You can use the command below to check your version:

lsb_release -r

To manually verify that this provider is safe (when adding Ubuntu PPA repositories, this process is automatic), use following command:

wget -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Afterwards, proceed as usual with a command to look through the packages newly available:

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install the Messenger plugin for Pidgin:

sudo apt-get install purple-facebook

Thankfully, adding a Facebook account to Pidgin is a much easier process. There are no extra hoops to jump through. All you need to do is enter your username and password. Remember to choose the protocol called Facebook, not Facebook (XMPP)!

pidgin facebook

Still Alive and Kicking

Despite being almost two decades old, Pidgin is still a very useful application. With the installation of a few extensions, it becomes an excellent alternative to messaging using a web browser Why You Don't Need Desktop Chat Clients Anymore Remember the days of MSN Messenger and AIM? Those two were the first chat clients I ever used. Once I started using them more and more, it became cumbersome to switch between clients and contact... Read More or multiple separate applications.

If you’d like to chat on Pidgin using more obscure means, such as LINE LINE Call For Android Launches In 8 Countries With Cheap International Calls LINE Call allows users to make calls to non-Line numbers in eight different countries. Currently, the service is only available on Android, but they have said that an iPhone version should be coming soon. Read More , check out the developers webpage. It hosts a list of supported protocols, along with steps on how to install these extra features.

pidgin plugins

Is Pidgin right for you? Are there other applications you prefer using instead of web based alternatives?

Image Credit: stockphoto mania via

Related topics: Google Hangouts, Instant Messaging, Linux, Skype.

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  1. canislupus
    October 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Dont understood anything, but it worked smoothly :DD Thank you, very much. :)

  2. MarkDubya
    January 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Google is removing Hangouts API access for 3rd party apps soon, unfortunately.