Google Chat vs. Hangouts vs. Meet: How is Each Different?

Zoom meeting

Google Chat vs. Hangouts vs. Meet: How is Each Different?

Key Points

  • Google Chat, Hangouts, and Meet are Google’s communication tools designed to meet the needs of an increasingly connected world.
  • Google Chat is designed for team collaborations and integrates with Google Workspace tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
  • Hangouts, now discontinued, was a versatile communication tool for casual consumer communication with video call capabilities.
  • Google Chat allows for direct messaging, while Hangouts and Meet support video conferencing.

Google has continued to evolve its communication tools, including Google Chat, Hangouts, and Meet, to meet the growing needs of an increasingly connected world. These platforms, though intertwined, serve different purposes and offer distinct features to help foster digital communication.

Google Chat, designed to streamline team collaborations, acts as a hub for project-based discussions through its tight-knit integration with Google Workspace tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Google has pivoted Hangouts, once akin to Chat, into its primary channel for casual consumer communication, with the added advantage of video calls. On the other hand, Google Meet, created for enterprise-level video conferencing, caters to larger gatherings with robust security and advanced controls, setting it apart from Hangouts and Chat.

Let us review Google Chat, Hangouts, and Meet to guide an insightful selection, boosting your team’s communication efficiency.

Google Chat vs. Hangouts vs. Meet: Side-by-Side Comparison

Google ChatHangouts
Chat FunctionalityDesigned to facilitate team communicationSupported
SecurityAdequate security measuresInadequate security measures
Integration with Other Google ServicesDeep integration with Google WorkspaceIntegrated with Google services
User Limit Per CallUp to 8,000Up to 150
Video ConferencingRequires Google Meet installed to make video callsSupported
Direct Messages?YesYes
AvailabilityAvailable for free to Google Workspace usersDiscontinued as of November 1, 2022
Google Meet
Chat FunctionalitySupported, but not the main focus of the tool
SecurityAdequate security measures
Integration with Other Google ServicesDeep integration with Google Calendar
User Limit Per CallUp to 250
Video ConferencingDesigned primarily for video conferencing
Direct messages?No
AvailabilityAvailable for free with tight integration with Google Calendar, real-time captions

Hangouts vs. Google Chat vs. Meet: What’s the Difference?

Understanding Google’s different communication platforms can seem tricky. We will simplify things for you by comparing Google Chat, Hangouts, and Google Meet. These three tools each have unique features and uses, whether for work or just catching up with friends.

Let’s look at the main aspects that make each platform distinct.

Purpose and Primary Use

Google Chat is a direct messaging tool for quick exchanges and team collaboration. Google Chat integrates easily with other Google services like Gmail and Google Docs. Workspaces have embraced Google Chat for fast, convenient communication. Real-time collaboration is a breeze thanks to the array of features, such as inline message replies and smart suggestions.

Unlike Google Chat, Google Hangouts was launched as a versatile communication tool supporting individual chats and group conversations. Its reach extended beyond the business world to personal communication. However, by November 2022, Hangouts was discontinued, with users being transitioned to Google Chat. Though some are nostalgic for Hangouts, Google Chat seems well-equipped to pick up where Hangouts left off.

Google Meet, on the other hand, targets video conferencing. With the pandemic-propelled surge in remote work, Meet has become a critical player in video conferencing. This tool boasts features like screen sharing, real-time captions, and tight integration with Google Calendar. As a result, it has become an essential tool for virtual meetings, webinars, and even online learning. Its availability to all users with a Google account has broadened its appeal and usage.


Google Chat allows for seamless communication across multiple devices. Users can access Google Chat via Gmail, its independent website, and specialized mobile apps. The tool also provides notifications, ensuring you get all the important messages and updates. Google Chat offers a range of features depending on the type of account used, with some features exclusive to Google Workspace accounts.

Google Hangouts was similarly accessible via multiple channels, including Gmail, its dedicated website, and mobile apps. However, following the retirement of Hangouts, these users have been redirected to Google Chat, which aims to offer a similar level of accessibility and ease of use.

Google Meet stands out for its seamless integration with Google Calendar, enabling users to schedule, start, or join meetings directly from their calendar events. The free availability of Meet for all Google users marked a significant development in its accessibility. Despite being a more professional-oriented tool, its broad access and straightforward user interface have attracted a range of users, from professionals to students and people looking to connect with loved ones.

User Interface

Google Chat’s interface is relatively straightforward and primarily used for quick text-based exchanges. It’s streamlined and geared towards direct one-to-one conversations or small group discussions. You can easily manage your contacts and create chat rooms. However, it lacks advanced video conferencing features.

In contrast, Google Hangouts promotes ease of interaction through its informal, user-friendly interface, favoring direct communication and simple video conferencing for personal and professional relationships. Its uncluttered design emphasizes usability over comprehensive team collaboration utilities. Hangouts offer an accessible, straightforward platform for lightweight digital interactions.

Google Meet is different; it presents a professional-grade video conferencing UI. It’s designed for business communication and formal meetings. It includes various features, including screen sharing, real-time captions, and integration with Google Calendar. Its interface is more structured and formal compared to Hangouts and Chat.

File Sharing

Google Chat benefits from deep integration with Google Drive, enabling easy file sharing and collaboration within the chat. Moreover, with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, teams can effectively work together within Google Chat. It also supports bots and automation, adding to its collective power.

Meanwhile, Google Hangouts provided basic file-sharing capabilities, facilitating the sharing of photos and videos. However, before its discontinuation in 2022, it lacked advanced file management options. Its inability to integrate directly with Google Drive for real-time collaboration rendered it less appropriate for professional purposes.

Google Meet primarily focuses on video conferencing, not file sharing. Although it does have some file-sharing capabilities, it still needs to be fully equipped in this regard. Participants can present their entire screen or a specific window during a meeting, effectively sharing files in this manner. Nevertheless, compared to Google Chat and Hangouts, its file-sharing capabilities are limited.

Integration with Google Workspace

As a crucial part of Google’s suite of products, Google Meet has a deep integration with Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite). One of its standout features is its seamless integration with Google Calendar, allowing users to schedule, join, and even create meetings directly from their calendars. This results in an efficient workflow, enabling users to manage online meetings more effectively.

Conversely, Google Hangouts, despite being a component of the Google ecosystem, integrates differently with Google Workspace, chiefly because it’s now a discontinued service. Before its phase-out, Hangouts was a more straightforward, general-purpose communication tool devoid of specific features catering to a business environment, such as meeting scheduling or document collaboration.

Google has designed Google Chat, their latest communication tool, to integrate with the entire Google Workspace seamlessly. As a successor to Hangouts, Google Chat offers more features for real-time collaboration, like direct messages, group chats, and even room creation for project-based communication.

woman in zoom meeting video call
Google Meet is great for video calls of all types, while Chats is great for fast text-based communication. Hangouts has been discontinued.

©Girts Ragelis/Shutterstock.com

Security and Compliance

Safety-wise, Google Meet takes the lead among the three with its robust security features. As a tool primarily designed for business and professional use, it ensures encrypted video conferences and compliance with various industry standards, including HIPAA. Google Meet also offers advanced features such as host control, which gives the organizer of the meeting the ability to control participant activities, enhancing the overall security of the virtual meetings.

Google Hangouts, as a more casual platform, provides additional security and compliance features compared to Google Meet. While it did provide some level of encryption, it lacked advanced security features such as host controls or industry-specific compliance guarantees.

Contrarily, Google Chat, just like Google Meet, is fully integrated with Google Workspace’s security model. Given its role as a business communication tool, it adheres to the same compliance standards, including GDPR and HIPAA. It also benefits from Google’s machine learning capabilities to detect potential threats and prevent phishing attacks, adding another layer of security to user communications.


Google primarily designed Google Chat for Google Workspace users, distinguishing it as a premium service. Initially, Google launched it as Hangouts Chat in 2018, then rebranded it in April 2020. Google Chat targets businesses and provides robust functionality to ensure smooth interdepartmental communication.

Hangouts was once freely accessible to anyone with a Gmail account. However, since November 2022, it has been discontinued, shifting the landscape of Google’s communication tools. While Hangouts was popular for informal chats and video calls, the phase-out required users to adapt to Google’s new communication platforms.

On the other hand, Google Meet is now available free of charge, positioning it as Google’s response to other video conferencing solutions. While, in the past, only paying Google customers could create meetings, the change made the platform more inclusive. Gmail addresses can schedule or start a meeting on the Google Meet website.

Google Chat vs. Hangouts vs. Meet: 8 Must-Know Facts

  • As of November 2022, Google Hangouts has been discontinued, and users visiting Hangouts’ web clients are redirected elsewhere.
  • Google Meet and Google Chat cater primarily to businesses, organizations, and professionals. Google Hangouts, on the other hand, was aimed at casual and personal conversations before it was phased out.
  • Google Meet started as Google’s enterprise video conferencing solution. It’s available to all Google users today and offers full video calling features, suitable for professional meetings.
  • Google’s Chat and Meet are part of the core services offered in Google Workspace. This means they work seamlessly with other apps in the suite, like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and more, creating a comprehensive and interconnected work environment.
  • Google has developed many products and services to cater to different needs, which includes Meet, Chat, and the now-discontinued Hangouts. This highlights Google’s commitment to providing diverse tools to meet various communication needs.
  • Over the years, Google has made several changes and upgrades to its chat and meeting apps. The most recent transformation in Google Chat and Meet includes advanced features and an improved user experience.
  • Google Meet is a paid video conferencing service designed for large-scale meetings, while Google Hangouts was better suited to smaller groups before it was phased out.
  • Each of Google’s communication tools caters to different communication styles. Understanding which tool is right for you or your team to enhance productivity is crucial.

Google Chat vs. Hangouts vs. Meet: Which is Best?

Choosing between Google’s communication tools can be challenging, as each offers unique capabilities geared toward specific user needs. 

Google Hangouts once served as a go-to messaging and video chat service, especially for Gmail or Google Mail account users. However, it was discontinued as of November 2022. Its main benefits were its widespread accessibility and integration with Google’s ecosystem.

Google Chat was intended as Hangouts’ successor, presenting a seamless transition for those accustomed to Hangouts’ functionality. It offers not only messaging services but also the creation of virtual rooms for team collaboration. The platform’s standout feature is its team-focused design, allowing easy group collaboration and communication.

Google Meet is a powerful video conferencing tool primarily used by businesses. Meet is more advanced than its counterparts, providing sophisticated features aimed at professional use, including large-scale meetings and webinars. Its chief advantage is its robust video conferencing capability, seamlessly handling high-definition video and audio for numerous participants.

While Hangouts once catered to Google’s consumer user base, Chat now provides a dynamic solution for team communication, and Meet shines as a reliable platform for professional video conferencing. Each tool serves its unique purpose, with the choice mainly hinging on individual or organizational requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Google Meet, Google Hangouts, and Google Chat?

Google Meet is a professional-grade video conferencing tool often used for larger meetings, whereas Google Hangouts is a more straightforward communication tool for smaller groups. Google Chat is a messaging platform focused on team collaboration. As of November 2022, Hangouts has been discontinued.

Has Google Hangouts been discontinued?

Yes, Google Hangouts was discontinued starting from November 1, 2022. Google has replaced Hangouts with Google Chat.

Is Google Hangouts being upgraded to Google Chat?

Yes, Google Hangouts has been upgraded to Google Chat. This is part of Google’s effort to streamline its communication tools.

What are the target user groups for Google Meet and Google Hangouts?

Google Meet is primarily designed for professional use within the GSuite, while Hangouts was available to anyone with a Gmail account, catering more to casual and personal conversations.

Is Google Meet a paid service?

Google Meet is a part of the G-Suite offerings and is generally a paid video conferencing service. However, some features may be available for free to specific users.

What happened to Google Hangouts Chat?

Google Hangouts Chat was rebranded to Google Chat in April 2020. This change was part of Google’s efforts to streamline its messaging services.

Can I use Google Chat if I don't have a Google Workspace account?

Google Chat was initially available to Google Workspace users. However, with the phasing out of Hangouts, it’s now available to all users, similar to the previous Hangouts service.

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