Hangouts Chat vs Hangouts Meet vs Classic Hangouts

Updated: August 23, 2019

Google Chat AppsIt’s a bit difficult to keep with Google’s various iterations of chat and Hangouts products.

However, Google has been honing its strategy and has come up with two well-thought-out business productivity offerings that complement G Suite’s core offerings.

Here is a roundup of the current Google Hangouts and Chat products, including the newest kid on the block.

Google Hangouts Chat

Google Hangouts ChatHangouts Chat is a new offering as of February 2018. This was launched as a direct competitor to Slack. Hangouts Chat is free to G Suite users.

Hangouts 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.

Hangouts 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.

Hangouts Chat has a number of other features, including bots for many popular applications such as Copper CRM and Trello. There’s even an API for building your own bot.

Current G Suite users can go to if Hangouts Chat is enabled for their organization (which it is by default).

Google Hangouts Meet

Google Hangouts MeetHangouts meet is online meeting application that’s in the same general category as GoToMeeting. In fact, we wrote a comparison of Hangouts Meet and GoToMeeting after Hangouts Meet was released in 2017.

Hangouts meet is included in the price of G Suite. A Hangouts Meet meeting is very easy to set up. Surprisingly, Hangouts Meet does not seem to have gotten much coverage in the online press.

Current G Suite users can go to to launch a meeting. Unlike Hangouts Chat which can be enabled/disabled by user, Hangouts Meet is always on for all G Suite users.

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

Google Classic Hangouts

Google HangoutsClassic Hangouts is available to both G Suite 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 G Suite 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 G Suite and consumer Gmail:

  • For G Suite 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 G Suite 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 G Suite Admins to Admins turn off classic Hangouts video calling, in preparation for the phase out of classic Hangouts.

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1 thought on “Hangouts Chat vs Hangouts Meet vs Classic Hangouts”

  1. 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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