One of my friends insists that I should use Google Hangouts because it's so much better than Skype. I would like to give it a try, but I wouldn't like to create a Google+ profile for that. Is there any way (some website or URL hack, Android application, some third party desktop software that hacks it's way into the system) to try it without creating a profile?
I'm not sure if this is a feature that has been introduced in the year since the question was asked, but it appears that you can use a limited version without a Google+ account via Gmail chat according to this support article:
If you don’t have a Google+ account you can start or join a limited hangout, which only includes the option to hang out with 1 other person. If you’d like access to all Hangouts’ features including the ability to hang out with up to 9 people, share your screen, and use cool Hangouts’ apps, you can upgrade to a free Google+ account
This answer presumes you have GMail/Google account, but not a Google+ one. Unfortunately Google seem to be closing off their systems, highlighted by the discontinuation of XMPP support.
If you're concerned about your privacy, create a fake profile - name it something your friends would recognize or even the opposite of what your friends would recognize or random letters.
In the end, creating the profile isn't a big deal and it gets you better access to your friends: pretty good payoff.
I don't think so. You have to have a Google+ account to join hangouts!! Update: But you can use a limited version. For more information John C's answer.