Google Chat vs Google Meet vs Classic Hangouts

Updated: July 15, 2020

Google Chat Meet HangoutsIt’s a challenge to keep with Google’s various iterations of chat, online meeting and Hangouts products—as well as the branding of these apps. In fact, we need to frequently update this post.

Google now has three distinct components in this category that are a part of Google Workspace’s core services, a.k.a. core apps.

Here is a roundup of the Google Hangouts, Meet, Chat (and now Rooms) offerings.

Google Chat

Google Hangouts ChatGoogle Chat was first offered in February 2018 as Hangouts Chat. Google Chat is free to Google Workspace users.

Google Hangouts Chat was rebranded “Google Chat” on April 9, 2020. We have accordingly updated the references in this post.


Google Chat allows for creating virtual rooms around which a team can discuss topics. There is a web interface and there are also desktop and mobile apps.

On July 15, 2020, Google announced “a new integrated workspace experience that brings Chat, Meet, and Gmail together on desktop and mobile.” Rooms will now be the shared spaces that unite chat, files and tasks. This is a direct competitor to Slack.


Chat is backward compatible with the now “classic” Hangouts chat feature. If you have been using the classic Hangouts chat feature, You’ll immediately see past conversation threads in the new Hangouts Chat interface.

Google Chat has a number of other features, including bots for popular applications such as Salesforce, Asana, Xero and Trello. There’s even an API for building your own bot.

Current Google Workspace users can go to if Google Chat (still Hangouts Chat in the admin UI) is enabled for their organization.

Google Meet

Google Hangouts MeetGoogle Meet is an online meeting application that’s in the same general category as Zoom and GoToMeeting.

We have written in-depth comparisons between Google Meet and Zoom and between Google Meet and GoToMeeting.

Google Hangouts Meet was quietly rebrandedGoogle Meet” on April 7, 2020. We have accordingly updated the references in this post.


Meet is included in the price of Google Workspace. A Google Meet meeting is very easy to set up. Until recently, Meet had not gotten much coverage in the online press.

Current Google Workspace users can go to to launch a meeting. A Google Workspace administrator can set who has access to Meet and who does not.

On March 3, 2020, Google announced that it will extend Meet’s premium features to all Google Workspace customers through July 1, 2020. Features include:

  • Larger meetings for up to 250 participants per call
  • Live streaming for up to 100K viewers within domain
  • Record meetings to Google Drive

Update: The features will now be available until September 30, 2020.

At the Google Next conference in July 2018, Google announced that people will be able to start Meet meetings with voice commands using either Google Meet Hardware, or IP phones from Cisco and Polycom.

There is a Google Meet Starter Kit that helps with internal adoption.

Google Classic Hangouts

Google HangoutsClassic Hangouts is still available to both Google Workspace users and users of consumer Gmail.

Classic Hangout’s chat feature is the foundation for Hangouts Conversations that can be seen at the bottom of the left sidebar in Gmail.

Current Google Workspace users can go to if Hangouts Meet is enabled for their organization. Gmail users can go to the same URL, but one option behaves slightly differently between Google Workspace and consumer Gmail:

  • For Google Workspace users, clicking the video icon in Google Hangouts will open a Hangouts Meet browser tab
  • For consumer Gmail users, clicking the video icon in Google Hangouts will launch a classic Google Hangouts video session

Clicking the phone icon in classic Hangouts invokes Google Voice. This allows a user place calls from a desktop to a landline.

On January 22, 2019, Google announced: “Classic Hangouts will be retired for all Google Workspace customers starting in October 2019 and all remaining users will be transitioned to Chat.” On August 21, 2019, Google said that it would be officially postponing the final transition date to no sooner than June 2020.

On April 2, 2019, Google added the ability for Google Workspace Admins to Admins turn off classic Hangouts video calling, in preparation for the phase out of classic Hangouts.

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5 thoughts on “Google Chat vs Google Meet vs Classic Hangouts”

  1. Currently we are using Classic Hangouts with a paid subscription to call USA and Canada. We are planning on moving to Hangouts Chat and one of our restrictions is this specific capability. Is there a way to reassign this credit to Google Voice? Which will be the tool to use for phone calls. Can we do it through GSuite’s Admin console?


  2. In Google Chat, I DO NOT SEE google chat groups, if i use Google Hangouts I DO SEE google chat groups. How can you eliminate Google Hangouts without being able to see or participate in a chat group?

    btw ~ i have used Google chat “rooms” and no one sees those unless they are using the new Google tool. I have gone back to using Google Hangouts on Chrome so I can see these group chats

  3. The saving grace for Hangouts classic was that all communication, email or message, could be searched from one bar. Now they are separate. What a dumb and crippling move.

    Does anyone know any different?


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